As parents, we take hundreds and hundreds of our children’s photos every year. We love documenting their first smiles, first steps, see how they change from month to month. Below, we’re suggesting a few simple ways, which can help you improve your photos – whatever your camera. And can we just proudly add – all illustration photos have been taken by our Photography for Parents students – aren’t they just fantastic?
1. Notice the light around you
Whether you’re using a DSLR or even just a phone camera, getting the light right can be the single, greatest improvement you can make to you photography. Try using natural light if at all possible. If you’re indoors, try positioning your child near a source of natural light, such as a large window or French doors, preferably with the light reflecting in their eyes (we call it catchlights). If shooting outside – learn to love your English, overcast weather – it is so much better for photography as it provides an even, shadowless light, that wedding photographers always secretly pray the sun doesn’t shine on your big day.
2. Get to know your camera
You know that green AUTO icon on your camera? Please step away from it now. We mean it. Get to know your camera and even if you are only using the pre-set modes, learn to know what effects you can expect from them and use them accordingly. If shooting moving children – switch to sports setting (if your camera has continuous or ‘burst’ shooting mode, that can come in handy too). If you’re after a portrait with that lovely blurry background – you have much greater chance of capturing it on Portrait mode. Large, spread out group of people and you want everyone sharp? Actually, the Landscape mode can be useful here. And absolutely learn how to turn the flash off (and on).
3. Focus on Focus
Our eyes are so drawn to what is in focus, that you can use this to your great advantage in making the viewer see exactly what you want them to see ( it is almost impossible to keep your eyes on a part of a photograph that’s not sharp – it’s a fact – try it!). And did you know you can ‘lock’ your focus on a particular element by half-pressing your shutter? As long as you keep your finger on the button and not change the distance to your object or zoom in, you can play around with your composition and your chosen object will remain sharp.
4. DO NOT say cheese.
It’s not all about the full on smiles. Your child is a unique special person – sometimes happy, sometimes grumpy, sometimes cheeky, sometimes thoughtful. All these many moods they are beautiful and they all merit to be captured – they tell such a great story! And sometimes, it’s all about the details – there is nothing that will melt a parent’s heart more than the sight of those baby curled up, little toes…
5. Break the rules!
Remember the rule about not shooting against the light? Or not chopping bits of the head off? Forget them – be creative, follow your instincts. There is more than one way of telling a story and rendering an emotion so unleash the artist within you and just get shooting. A tight crop which focuses on the big, thoughtful eyes is worth loosing a little bit of chin for.
All pictures posted have been taken by parents who registered onto this course. If you want to take your Photography a little further, check out the Photography for Parents classes we’re running in your area. Unique Parent+baby setting, means you can learn a new skill with your baby in tow! Next class starts Monday 25th Feb at the Chelsea Theatre, on Kings Road, London : www.photographyforparents.co.uk/kensington
Enter code KEN10 and get 10% off the courses!