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5 Simple ways to take great photographs of your children

When I’m not being a pediatrician, I am oftentimes a photographer. In my past life as a wedding photographer, I traveled around the world photographing weddings. Being the shutterbug that I am, my daughter is pretty used to posing for endless photographs. This would explain why she is such a ham!

Many parents often ask me how they can take better photographs of their children. To be quite honest, I would love to teach photography workshops for parents one day but until then, here are 5 simple ways to take great photographs of your children:

1. Find the backlight

In photography, the right light can make your break a photograph. In fact, some of the best photos that I have taken have been in the most ordinary of locations–but the lighting was spectacular. You don’t have to travel to an exotic location to capture a beautiful photograph. What you need most of all, is good light. After all, photography literally means ‘painting with light’ and this is what I picture myself doing when taking a photo.

Photographers often talk about the ‘golden hour’ where the light is the best for taking photographs. This is the hour before sunset and after sunrise. If you can capture memories during these times, you will be set with great lighting.

But we all know that children don’t follow a schedule! So quite often we find ourselves photographing when the sun is the most bright and harsh. In these instances, first look for the shade. This will help even out the skin tones and decrease bright spots.

Then, look for the backlight. This is where the sun is behind your subject. So the rays of the sun create a nice glow around your child. Oftentimes when the sun is behind you, your face becomes dark. This is why it is ideal for your child to be standing in an area where there is a natural reflector on the ground such as a bright pathway that reflects the sun back onto their face.

In this photo, my daughter was standing with the sun behind her, but the pathway in front of her reflected sun back onto her face. So her hair captured the beautiful rays of the sun and it also lit up her face. Win-win!

The golden hour…

2. Create depth of field

A lot of times, when we are in a pretty location, we are tempted to stand next to a beautiful tree or right in front of a wall–and while those pictures can be good, creating depth of field can make your photographs even more striking.

So what does this mean? Have your children stand several feet in front of the tree or wall instead of right next to it. This will create a clear difference between the foreground and and background and add a more dramatic layer to your photograph.

The photo below was taken in a driveway…not a particularly exciting location. But by having my daughter stand away from any of the background elements, I added depth of field to the photograph. This goes to show that with the right lighting and positioning, you can take great photos of your children anywhere!

3. Change the angle

Instead of photographing your children from directly in front of them, how about shooting from a different angle? Try shooting from above or even taking a step back and photographing from the side and through branches and trees. When you change the perspective of the photograph, you tell your child’s story in a whole new way.

4. Get down to their level

The best part of photographing children is getting to interact with them, and you can really only do that when you get down to their level. So lay on the grass and connect with them. Once you are on their level, they forget that a camera is even there and not only do you capture them in their element, but you capture a whole new perspective.

5. Capture their authenticity

Cut out the ‘cheese!’.  Instead of asking your children to say ‘cheese’— talk to them, make them smile and distract them. Even spontaneously laughing will bring out laughter in them. Most of the time, I’m having a conversation with my daughter and in between our rapport, I start clicking away!

This way, you will not only capture their smile, but the beauty of their soul. You won’t just be taking a picture, you will be preserving a memory.

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