Photographing your kids is often one of the most rewarding parts of photography for a lot of parents. The memories that can be saved are treasured by so many families. But knowing how to photograph children can be tricky. They are not the easiest thing to get great shots of! So how can you make sure your memories are captured just as perfectly as you remember them? Here are some basic tips that will get your photographs of your children up to scratch.
1. Get on Their Level
Most photos of people, children included, become much stronger in their composition when the photographer gets on the same eye level as the subject. For children, this will often mean getting on your knees or even lower.
Of course, like all rules, there are many exceptions, but often the simple act of changing your own shooting position to the same level as your children will result in a better photograph.
2. Focus on the Eyes
In almost all portraiture and people photography, focusing on the eyes is of major importance. The rest of the shot can almost afford to be out of focus if just the eyes are sharp.
3. Limit the Depth of Field
A classic portraiture technique that also holds true when photographing children is to limit the depth of field. This is usually achieved by using a relatively wide aperture (often between f/1.8 and f/5.6 and getting close to the subject but keeping the background far away). This can draw the eyes of the audience towards the face (and hopefully tack sharp eyes) of the child in your photograph.
If you've noticed, all of the examples on this page have a limited depth of field. That is because it is a favored technique of photographers when photographing people, including children.
4. Think About the Background
One massively overlooked element of great children photographs is the background of the image. Now, if you follow the tips above and limit the depth of field while focusing on the eyes of your child, then the background is going to be out of focus and potentially have a wonderful bokeh.
Experiment with your backgrounds to find one that suits. Colorful backgrounds often enhance photographs of children, but outdoor and natural backgrounds such as shrubbery and trees can also have a wonderful effect.
5. Use Faster Shutter Speeds
Children move. A lot. Getting them to stay still is almost a practical impossibility, so account for that. Shooting with a fast shutter speed will mean that you won't be left with blurriness when your child moves. It helps with getting that tack sharp focus that you will probably want.
6. Let the Kids Play with Their Favorite Things
Kids come alive when they do what they love. Sometimes that is playing in the yard. Sometimes it's having fun with a pet. These are the moments that can create great images, so let them be themselves.
Photo by Fred Mancosu
As with all rules and conventions, they were made to be broken. Try each of the ones above. Then ignore them. You might just come up with something magical.