Capturing those perfect family moments to create precious memories is so important. We are very lucky to have the awesome Jessica Lovelady as our latest guest blogger. Jessica is a professional photographer, with two handsome boys of her own. She understands the challenges parents face of trying to get cute and clear pictures of energy fueled kids! You can see just how fabulous her work is by following her on Instagram (@jloveladyphotography), or visiting her website. Jessica is also responsible for many of Creative QT's product photos.
A question I get a lot is how do you take such great pictures of your kids? Well let me tell you, it’s not always easy and as mine are boys, most of the time they are simply way too busy to stop for a photo. However, I don’t delete those ornery looks or fake smiles, because years from now those will likely be my favorites!
Let’s talk about cameras real quick. Many parents think that in order to take good pictures of your kids you need a big fancy camera. Well, while I won’t ever say that a smart phone can take better photos than even the most budget friendly DSLR, a few tricks will allow you to take print worthy pictures even from your phone.
Tip #1: Find the Light
All of the best photos, professional or not, utilize bright natural light. For indoor photos position your kids by a window. Here I snapped a sweet moment of my son and our dog. Maybe he’s just in his diaper and a t-shirt, but the dramatic light coming from our backdoor was so beautiful. It illuminated my precious little boy so I grabbed my camera and snapped away. Typically you’ll get your best indoor light midday, and for outdoors the prime times are right after sun rise and an hour before sunset.
Here’s a common scenario: you’re at the park, your kiddo is in a super good mood and doesn’t have lunch all over them (for once), but it’s 3:00pm with not a cloud in the sky? Answer: find some shade. Utilize shade from a tree or the shadow from a building! Just remember to look for even diffused light to avoid harsh shadows or sun spots.
Tip #2: Using the Right Backdrops
A great backdrop doesn’t have to be fancy, it just needs to be clear of distractions. Use a blank wall in your house, backyard fence, landscaping, or even a simple bed sheet! Remove any clutter in the background like toys or that random shoe. There’s nothing worse than an adorable shot of your kiddo with a pile of laundry in the background. This was actually taken on our stair landing where we have a huge picture window. You wouldn’t ever know it would you?
Tip #3: Fix Your Posture
Ever think you’ve taken an amazing shot of your darling little one just to find out it’s blurry? There’s literally nothing worse and it happens to us all. My tip? SLOW DOWN. I know what you’re thinking, “yeh right lady did you forget already what it’s like chasing after a toddler?”. We’ll get to that part in a bit, but your body posture is so important and the answer why is very simple. How do you expect the camera to focus if you’re jiggling around like you’ve got ants in your pants?
My top tips for achieving a crystal clear picture:
Tip #4: Getting the Perfect Shot
Getting any kid to sit still is tough. They love a good challenge, so give them a job to do! Let them be in charge of something like keeping a teddy bear safe or holding a special toy. If all else fails most kids will plop down anywhere for a snack. Here I told the boys to throw popcorn at me, clearly it was a huge hit.
Then there’s the elusive grin. It’s there, but when the camera goes up it vanishes quicker than a popsicle on a hot summer day. For babies, you have to get a little creative! They love songs, silly faces and toys that squeak. Toddlers to teens are much easier as they love….. potty talk. I’m dead serious on this one. I have never seen a kid stay sober faced after a fart noise or talking about pooping. Can’t do the potty talk? Have them yell a word or phrase that ends with a long 'eeee' sound. My personal faves are “I love candeee” or “daddy is stinkeeee”. Try it out, you’re smiling aren’t you?
Tip #5: Posing & Composition
Kids are busy little creatures and the younger they are, the harder it is to get them to pose. Go with the flow and let them explore. It never hurts to give little prompts like “oh Jack look at that cool rock over there, I bet you can’t sit on it!” or “what a neat flower Sarah, can you show it to me?”
Now there aren’t really any hard and fast rules to photo composition, but one rule I stick to 80% of the time is making sure to get on their eye level. After all, you’re supposed to be seeing the world through their eyes right? Don’t stop there though, grab a stool and shoot that perfect little face looking up at you from above. Or grab a shot with him or her just off center for a more creative view. My boys love a good dress-up session. Here I am at their eye level and using the bricks to lead your eye to my crazies. They were cracking me up with their superhero poses, which they took very seriously of course.
All that's left is to edit and print.....
You did it! You survived a photo session with your kids, well done! Now it’s time to do something with those photos. Please don’t do them the injustice of a life stored on your phone or memory card. There are some great photo editing apps out there. My personal fave is VSCO, but even Instagram has some pretty good editing options to really give your images that extra oomph. I mean let’s be honest here, you’re totally going to post that adorable pic of Johnny smelling that flower. Get creative with cropping and by all means get all artsy fartsy with filters too. Because it’s all about what you love. Upload them to your favorite printer and frame those sweet faces. Happy snapping friends!
Creative QT designs quality + innovative toys that declutter homes and inspire creative play. Founded by parents of five, Adam and Dana Sue Hinkle, Creative QT’s vision is to empower parents and encourage a culture of families that Make Time Together. All products are designed to enrich families’ lives through active, creative play and play based learning. Creative QT products are laboratory tested for compliance with CPSC requirements and are free of lead, cadmium and phthalates so you can play with confidence. So, go ahead … today is the day: be your kid’s hero.
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