as requested by so many of you, today’s post is all about photography! i’ve already shared a post with all the information about what sorts of cameras and photo equipment we use, as well as the back story to both josh and me being self-taught when it comes to all things in the photography world (read that post HERE first if you might have missed it). but today, i’d love to talk more about getting the shot.
so let’s start with candid photos.
i’m going to focus this post on taking candid photos mainly of kids, because my children are my favorite thing to photograph, and i’ve found some really helpful tricks over the years when it comes to capturing them in a photo.
TAKING CANDID PHOTOS OF CHILDREN
i think the biggest thing when it comes to taking a successful photo of a little one, is to try to capture the best side of your child. this usually mean capturing them in action, in their element, doing their thing. having them hold still, stand in a certain spot and scream “cheese” at you often doesn’t really translate well, since their smile or body language might not seem as natural or authentic… it’s usually not as fun for everyone involved, either.
i feel like i’ve learned this through a lot of trial and error. josh and i have this joke actually, that whoever is holding the camera and taking the photos (since we both switch off so often), is that whoever is holding the camera “can’t be a jerk.” i am definitely guilty at times over the years of feeling like i have to get a certain shot, or even the “perfect shot” (whatever that means) and everyone needs to come stand here and smile now or whatever, but it’s never fun for anyone and just stresses all of us out. so josh and believe that the best way to capture the best photo of your child is to just be ready with your camera…. get down low, step back and away as they play or do their thing, wait for it, be patient and not overbearing, and basically, just don’t be a jerk. ;)
i have found that i gravitate towards images that capture movement in some way. i find they tell such beautiful stories, and i love seeing my kids mid action having a great time. i think sometimes we might feel like we have to wait until everyone is paused or holding still to take the photo, but i think movement is a beautiful thing that children do so well, and some of my favorite shots from over the years with our family involve a lot of activity and movement within the frame.
something else i think can be useful when capturing the best side of your kiddos, is to take photos from all sorts of angles. down low, up high, they are always on the move and it’s nice to change up the perspective.
i know i already said my peace about how i love the candid shot over the posed, but this photo of eleanor backstage with the rockettes is a great example of that. i love that her face says everything as she looks up in awe at these rockettes and it’s the photo i prefer over the one where they are all looking over at us and saying cheese. everyone has a different preference for what makes a photo special to them, but this is definitely mine.
and if you are wanting to get a shot with all your kids, or a group of kids together, but still want it to feel fun for everyone and not so structured and rigid, we have found that being silly while doing so keeps the mood happy and light and the smiles more playful and real.
our kids are so into making up their own knock knock jokes, that we’ll share one or ask them to share one right as we take the photo. something else you can do is have another person beside the photo taker make silly ears on whoever is about to take the photo, say a funny word or bunch of made up words, or just do a silly motion towards them having the camera person pretend they have no idea what is happening. somehow, this is gold in our home.
another thing worth noting when it comes to taking photos of kids when they are moving, is to try using a setting like a burst (where it’ll take several photos at once). most phones have this now and on our canon DSLR camera, it is called the high continuous shooting mode. it makes all the difference with capturing something in action!
another great tip if you’re using a DSLR and your subject is moving (like kids running around!) is to use the AI focus or servo mode which will help keep your subject in focus as they run or move quickly while you take several photos as once. this way you don’t have to refocus the frame before every photo you take. OR try a higher f/stop for a smaller aperture and deeper depth of field, so basically as your kids move closer to you or farther from you they will remain in focus for longer (opposite of a portrait setting).
i think at the end of the day, capturing photos is all about preserving a memory and we are so fortunate to have such high quality cameras these days accessible on even our phones! i think the biggest key is to just not stress about it, and pull it out when the moment feels right, but also know when to sit back and just enjoy. you want those moments where you do pull the camera out to be fun for everyone, so make sure everyone is comfortable with it. there have been times where my kids don’t feel like a picture, and i always try to listen and respect that and put down the camera. ironically, there are also moments where i don’t even have the camera with me and they ask me to take a photo of them or something they are doing, because they know this means we’ll have it documented forever and they love looking at our photo books and family videos frequently. since photography is such a big part of our lives, we’ve also gotten the kids their own little cameras and they love documenting our travels through their own eyes which we always love seeing afterwards. lately, eleanor and samson often want to take photos with our bigger DSLR as well, and after i get over the nerves of them dropping it, it’s fun to see how interested they are in taking more photos and videos on their own.
i hope these tips are helpful! we have learned through so much trial and error and while we still have much to learn when it comes to photography, we are sure grateful for cameras and the chance to preserve memories!
i am already working on a a few other photography posts for you, including our photo editing process, since that is another big question we have gotten quite a bit (it’s also my favorite part). so stay tuned for a separate post on that, but let me know in the comments if there is anything i might have missed within this section you’d like to learn more about! or if you have tips you’ve found helpful when photographing little ones, please share!