I really love photos and photography in general, but my absolute, all-time favorite pictures are not the ones of families that are perfectly posed and smiling. It's photos of children that capture a true peek into childhood. There are so many small things that our children do everyday that can easily be forgotten through the years. It is so precious to capture these little memories in your own home to remind you of these little moments that pass so quickly. While I would love to come into your home and capture these moments for you (for real, I would love to start doing in home, non-styled sessions! But that's a blog for another day!), it's mostly likely that these moments will only occur when kids are in their own space in their normal routines. But YOU can do it Mama! Whether you are using your iPhone or a DSLR, you can get better photos of your kids that are beautiful and timeless. Here are a few easy changes you can make to get better photos today!
1. Be Sneaky!
I sometimes catch my son doing the sweetest things...and then he realizes I'm watching and he will immediately stop and start making toot sounds. The same thing happens when you ask your child to look at you and smile! If you want to catch authentic moments, be sneaky! Wait until he or she is totally immersed in what they are doing, then sneak up on them. If I know I want to get some updated photos of my children, I start by getting my camera out of the bag and having it somewhere easily accessible. (Let's face it, if they are playing and hear me unzip the bag, they know I'm coming for them! So I have to set it out early and leave it lying around so they don't get suspicious!) Most of us always have our phones in our pockets, so you can use that too. For the shot below, I was standing in another room "folding clothes" (and yes I thought myself quite clever while I was doing it). I was able to catch this shot of Baxter totally immersed in the world of Thomas because he wasn't suspicious of me lurking around.
2. Turn Off the Lights
Okay, that may be a bit misleading. You can't get a good photograph in the pitch black dark. What I mean by this is to turn off your overhead lights and lamps, and use natural light! Indoor lighting produces orange tones and just takes the beauty out of images. Of course you can fix these tones with careful temperature adjustments in camera or in editing, but that's a bit more complicated. And honestly, nothing compares to the beauty of natural light! It's just more proof that we just can't compete with what was made by the Creator of all. So after you turn off the lights, make sure you have a nice light source from a window or door. You already have a camera out and ready to go, so just go ahead and prep your image by turning off the indoor lighting and opening your blinds and curtains to illuminate the room. In all my photos of my children playing around my house, I always have the lights off and use window light. The images below were taken in my bathroom with all the lights off. I've always wondered why a large window is directly above our bathtub, because I personally never want to bathe in front of a large open window...but for these images of my kiddos, I simply turned off the lights and opened the window. It illuminated the whole room and the white tub even acted as a reflector to light up those cute little faces.
3. Get on Their Level
It never fails. After every photo shoot, I'm sore. This is because I photograph families with young children, and I spend a lot of time squatting, and even lay flat on the floor or ground sometimes (another reason why I don't dress up for sessions). If you want to get unique shots of your children, get down on their level. Show the world from their perspective. In the bathtub images above, you can see my reflection of how I was squatting to get a lower perspective.
I hope this gives you some ideas and inspiration! You will be so glad you took the time the capture these special moments of childhood. It all goes by so quickly!