As I sit in my living room overlooking my gallery wall, nostalgia runs rampant. I am grateful for the photographers that captured, with one click, a moment that embodied our family perfectly. Photography is a true talent and art from. Unfortunately, I can only convince my husband to “formally” strike a pose once a year (and let’s be honest, even that takes weeks of persuasion and pep talks). In an effort to freeze frame the every day moments of life with our growing kids, I asked nine local photogs for tips for us “nonprofessionals” to get the best photos. (This is not a sponsored post. I’ve had the benefit of working with several of these photographers and several I just admire their adorable Instagram feeds).
Adjust for Lighting
Shoot for diffused (not direct) light, shares Nicole Kehres. A well-exposed image is key to great photography. Indoors, some of the best lighting will be found if your kid(s) are facing a large window. Too bright? Try adding a sheer curtain to diffuse the light.
Stacey Woodward Johnson also ranks lighting on top. Natural light is her go to. She suggests aiming for “open shade—an area that is shaded from direct sunlight but is illuminated by reflected light like the shade of a building, under a big tree, or right inside your garage or front door.” Ideally, you want your littles in this shade, but facing the light.
On phone camera, be sure to turn your flash off. The flash usually does nothing good unless it’s pitch black, adds Lindsay Alvey.
Watch the Background
We usually use our phone camera to capture the moment without thinking too much about it. But if you want to intentionally take a great photo of your kid(s), according to Erin McFarland, look for a clean background without distractions. “This can be as simple as changing your angle. A straight on shot at a park will usually have people, houses and passing cars in the background. Try adjusting your angle up or down to either get more grass or more sky. And if your camera has portrait mode, use it because it blurs out busy backgrounds. Game changer for camera phones!”
Get Down on Their Level
Lauren Beglin and Lindsay Alvey both stress the importance of getting into our kid’s point of view instead of your own. “Don’t be afraid to get down on the floor to capture the details of life as your kiddo sees it,” urges Lauren.
From Melissa Carlson, “Ask if you have a booger in your nose, how many fingers you’re holding up, if there’s something on your head. Act crazy, sing, dance.” Don’t just ask your kids to “look and smile” or beg for a “cheese.” Make it a game to get a genuine expression.
Don’t Let Photos Sit on Your Phone
With all the photos we take, we rarely print anything today. Shannon Lee recommends using Chatbooks where you can download the app and make books straight from your phone or Mixtiles where you can print a quick collage that sticks on your wall. “Technology is never reliable and I have had total phones wiped out with thousands of photos gone. At the end of the day, every photo is memorable,” reminds Shannon.
Be in the Moment
Christina Wheeler encourages not overthinking perfection. “Take photos in the moment; this time is precious. Capture everything as it is to help you remember it.”