Taking photos of very young children are hard enough let alone if they’re your own. I have taken photos of well over a hundred children and I can say without a shadow of a doubt I find mine the most challenging.
Recently I took these shots of my youngest. The first 9 shots are unedited images. My 4 year old immediately started feeling like she had to do something with her mouth. All I did was dress her and sat her on a little table. She knew I wanted to take portraits of her because just a few minutes earlier I photographed my oldest daughter.
I love these photos, and they make me laugh so much – the happy kind of laughter. When she’s older, these will remind me of what she’s like at 4. But let’s face it, I wasn’t after photos of my daughter looking awkward, uncomfortable and not quite herself – funny and sweet as they are.
While these 3 were more like it. And my secret of taking natural photos of my children are quite simple: make them laugh and give them an activity – which is always great for candid captures. I got my middle child do funny things behind me to make her laugh and I got my eldest child to tickle her. Now this is not to say that this happens all the time nor is it an easy thing to do. It took me 7 years to make this happen for my eldest! If I’d been by myself with no help available, I’d probably have employed noisy toys or tickly things etc to make this happen.
When taking photos of very young kids, I tend to take a lot more photos than I actually need. Young kids hardly ever sit still so many shots are bound to be out of focus or not sharp enough or half of their body have disappeared out of the frame by the time I clicked the shutter. And from these I then choose the best images.
My criteria for choosing are usually only three things: are the eyes in focus, do they look like themselves / natural, and the third and probably most important for me is – does the photo evoke an emotional response.
So there you go, my top tips on taking photos of my own kids. If you’re feeling inspired, grab whatever camera you have and make your children laugh and snap away. These memories are precious. We want them preserved. Perfection shouldn’t be the aim – well, not always.
To see my posts on the Creative tips series, click here