When it comes to photographing kids, we spend a lot of time discussing how to capture images of them smiling naturally and looking at the camera. Of course, every parent wants that sort of image of their child or children, and learning how to cultivate those genuine reactions is an important skill for any photographer to have.
That said, full-face portraits are just one small type of people photography. When it comes to photographing kids in particular, if you only capture that style of image, you’re missing out on a whole lot! Here are five things not to miss when it comes to photographing your children!
1. Little Details
Fingers. Toes. Eyelashes. When it comes to photographing kids, don’t forget to capture the little details! Years later, a photo of dirty feet will bring to memory hours spent playing in the backyard. Mismatched fingernails will remind parents of the “I’ll do it myself!” years of budding independence. These aren’t (typically) the photos that make it onto Christmas cards or Facebook profile images, but they are images that parents will be thankful for down the road.
It’s amazing how much body language can convey in a photo, and that’s never more evident than in the case of a silhouette. I love capturing silhouettes of kids because they highlight body language and details in a different way than a full-face portrait does.
In a standard portrait, the wisps of hair take a backseat to adorable toothless smiles. I love a good toothless grin, but I want to remember the cowlicks and hair wisps as well. I want to remember the way that the kiddos sat on top of a fence so close to each other that not a single ray of light was able to sneak through.
Don’t forget to try silhouettes from a number of different facial views. Try them with the kid facing away from your camera. Try them with the kiddo facing the camera head-on. Definitely, try them in profile! Again, it draws attention to the little details like the shape of their nose and their facial features.
3. Their Little Quirks
This category is one instance where you’ll be at a huge advantage if you’re photographing your own children (or close relatives) because you know your kids best.
You know the silly way they sit on their feet while they’re eating. You know the way they press their hands into their face while they’re making up a “once upon a time” story. Only you know the goofy faces that they make and you also know the way that one kiddo always tries to photo-bomb the other. You already know the funny little quirks that your own kids have, so make sure to photograph them!
Take it from me, you won’t remember them as well as you think you will, and someday you’ll be grateful for the reminder.
This is a category of images that is easy to forget about, but I really try to make an effort to occasionally photograph my kids while they’re sleeping. The other day, my first grader fell asleep unexpectedly. She has the tendency to act older than she really is in a lot of different ways, so my expectations for her tend to be pretty high.
I grabbed my camera and snapped a few photos because I was struck by how young she looked while she was sleeping. Nearly every time that I make the concerted effort to photograph my kids while they’re sleeping, I find myself thankful for the reminder that even though they may act older than their ages, the truth is that they’re still little.
5. Different Angles and Facial Views
As I look through the many, many photographs that I’ve taken of my children, there are very few images that are shot from unusual angles and different facial views. Anytime I find an image that’s shot in silhouette, I’m always pleasantly surprised! There aren’t many of them, but I’m always pleased to come across them because they capture a different sort of expression than full-face images. In my experience, kids aren’t typically photographed in profile very often, and I think it’s such an important aspect in capturing their personalities!
Similarly, I always try to get down to their level when I’m photographing kids. That’s usually a good thing, but on occasion, it’s nice to have an image that’s shot from above, below, or other non-traditional angles. Make an intentional effort to photograph your children from a variety of different perspectives – you won’t regret it!
Over to you
Please share your tips for photography kids below as well as your images. I’d love to see them.