Don't say cheese! How to take good pictures of your kids

We all love taking hundreds or thousands of pictures of our kids. Then, if you’re like me, you end up letting them sit on your computer because they all look the same or they just aren’t “print-worthy.” It’s time to get print-worthy! We asked 2 local photographers for their top tips in photographing kids.

Both of our photographers interviewed agreeed on 2 main points: Turn OFF the flash and don’t force the smile! Read on for more great tips, and feel free to head over to our Facebook discussion page to share some pictures of your little ones!

Tips from Jen Cowsar of Jen Cowsar Photography

1. Turn OFF the FLASH! Natural light is unbeatable. If photographing inside, open the curtains and let in the light. Shoot near a window with light shining through. You will have to lower your shutter speed shooting inside so compensate by dialing up the ISO. Example: set shutter speed to 60 but dial up the ISO to 800. Never shoot lower than a 60 shutter speed without a tripod.
2. NIGHTY NIGHT! Sleeping babies are beautiful. Utilize naptime to get some beautiful sleepy time shots.
3. WATCH THE CLOCK!!! When shooting photographs outside, the best times are early and late. Try to plan photos for between 8 and 10 am or between 4 and 6 pm. The light early and late is the best filtered light and you will have less problems with shadows and squinty eyes.
4. GET BEHIND ME!!! Put the sun behind your subjects. Yes, you will squint as the photographer but your kiddos won’t.
5. CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF…Cloudy days are often the best days for a great photo shoot. You will have less problems overall with shadows and kids squinting because of the sun. I personally love cloudy days with my camera.
6. DON’T SAY CHEESE!!! Some of the best photos I have ever snapped have no posing involved. Take photos of your kids talking and interacting. Snap the shutter when they are playing like they usually do everyday. Those everyday moments are the ones you will want to always remember.

Tips from Becky Abernathy of Abernathy Photographics

1) TURN OFF THE FLASH: Sometimes going near a window or outside allows the beautiful natural light to be the main light source. No flash should be on in this case, as it casts unwanted shadows, and can really wash out the
subject. Natural light is so soft and compliments any image.

2) SHOOT FROM YOUR KIDS’ LEVEL: As adults, we’re obviously bigger than our children. Sometimes sitting, squatting or laying down in front of them so that the camera is on the same level with their face brings a whole new
dimension to the image. Not only that, but it helps you connect with your child better and it will help you get the close-ups of those precious faces.

3) DONT FORCE THEM TO SMILE: Dont always ask for a smile. If a smile isnt genuine, you can usually tell in the resulting photo. Instead, let your child(ren) do something fun. Anything that lets them be their natural selves will create a genuine smile/laugh, and more memorable pictures for you. Photograph them jumping in rain puddles with their rainboots, capture them laughing on a swing, let them enjoy that lollipop or popsicle. You will love these pictures so much more years down the road than you will those where they are sat down and being told to say ‘cheese’.

4) FILL THE FRAME: We all want to take pictures that show our children’s entire bodies, or maybe a cool location we visited. But dont be afraid to get in realllly close and fill the whole frame with your child’s face.
Sometimes it is the expressions and tiny details of their faces at that particular age that should be the focus, rather than the head-to-toe shots.

5) READ YOUR CAMERA MANUAL: So many of us have the latest and greatest digital cameras on the market. We buy them, we take them out of the box, and we start snapping away. Yet, we know so little about what each camera can
really do to help us. Whether you have a point-and-shoot, or a snazzy SLR, reading the manual is a must so that you are getting the most out of such a precious tool.

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