This is a guest Post written by Talia Rodgers.
She writes “Being a family + children’s portrait photographer and most importantly a mom, I thought I could share some wisdom I’ve gained over my years of taking portraits of runaway toddlers. I want to give moms (and dads) tips on taking beautiful photos of their family.”
When I first started taking photos of my children I was working so hard to make the images exactly what I had envisioned in my own head, resulting in me spending all my time wrangling children to be placed, ever so perfectly, in the positions I wanted. This only produced stuffy portraits with mostly forced smiles and worse I was dripping with sweat after my herding efforts.
Then it clicked (pun intended) … I can get theses images and more if I just let the kids be kids, just follow a few steps to beautiful photos you will cherish. These tips can be followed using any camera of your choice, even a camera phone.
Tip # 1 The most important aspect of photography is light. Light can make or break an image. Choose a spot in your home that has the best light and have your child play there. I take my son’s matchbox cars and place them on the floor in front of a large set of windows in our living-room. Don’t limit yourself to certain rooms, you’d be surprised how many times I have taken pictures of my kids in the mudroom or bathroom because the light was best there. Take a few test shots before bringing your child into the space, checking the back of your camera or phone.
Tip #2 Clean up the area around the child. Move the giant pile of laundry waiting to be folded (no judgement, we all have one), toys that aren’t being played with, and any other distracting elements in the background. It’s a bummer when you’ve captured an adorable shot of your daughter, but only to realize your hands-free double breast pump is on display behind her.
Tip # 3 The next piece of advice is huge…get down to their level. When I am shooting I am almost always on my knees or even on my stomach. You want to be eye-level with them, you will see how much better the picture looks when you are on their level. The picture below is a cell phone and all I did was crouch down to exaggerate the small hill they were playing on.
Tip #4 Just let them be them. My children don’t smile for me anymore on demand; I guess it’s photographer’s child syndrome. However, my favorite pictures of them are when they’re not looking at the camera. I have a picture of my son laughing hysterical while looking at his sister off camera. This is my favorite image of him to date, however I have almost the exact same picture of him looking right at the camera but not smiling. The first image is genuine and that’s why it works.
Tip #5 Get outside! If I want an outdoorsy picture of them we take a walk. A few hours before sunset the light is soft and warm it’s the perfect time, regardless of the season. Go out to the park (or even your backyard) with your camera. Let them run around like maniacs, but be ready because those precious shots are there. I sit and wait for the moment when my little guy sits on a rock to catch his breath or my daughter helps her little brother by holding his hand …if only for 5 seconds. These are the moments you will treasure.
Hopefully these can help you grab a few photos of your little ones. The moments are fleeting so make sure you are capturing and celebrating them.
More about Talia:
Most importantly, I am a wife and a mother to my two beautiful children. I have always loved photography, looking back it has been a part of me since I first picked up a camera as a child; even my wedding proposal involved me taking a picture while my husband got the ring out and dropped to one knee. Photography became especially important to me when my children were born. Like most moms, I want to document every special moment, milestone, accomplishment. Soon after my daughter was born I enrolled in photography classes and haven’t stopped since.
Follow her journey and give her some love: