How do you take good photos of your child? Often, it’s not about getting a phone with a better camera, or a premium DSLR camera. We asked professional photographers who specialise in taking good photos of children how they capture those precious moments.
When your kids are sleeping
This is a good chance to get good photos of your child that you wouldn’t be able to take if your kids – especially if they are babies – were awake, says Kymberley Teo, chief photographer at Sage Clover Children Photography. “Get close-ups of their faces, hands and feet. This is the easiest time to go for the angles you want.”
Hart Tan, associate master photographer at Tomato Photo, suggests using a small, simple camera for sleeping shots, so as not to interrupt your kid’s sleep. “If the room is dark, use a small flashlight to give you the illumination you need,” he says. Use reflected light instead of shining a light directly on your child.
When they’re playing or doing sports
If you want to take good photos of your child during such active times, don’t interrupt them, says Hart. Allow them to do whatever they are doing and you will get spontaneous, natural shots. If they are outdoors, you may want to use a longer telephoto lens to capture them in action without interrupting their activity.
Adds Kymberley: “Do also have your camera’s high shutter speed on, so you can get good shots of your kids running around.”
When you’re on holiday
Kymberley says that it’s hard to get a good photo of your kids and the background scenery, so decide on which you want to focus on. If you want a good shot of the children, zoom in as closely as possible.
Otherwise, zoom out, but remember that you won’t get a great shot of your kids. Hart suggests bringing a small camera and just one zoom lens. Forget about the tripod – find something to lean on and stabilise the camera by weighing the strap down and pulling the camera up to your eye level to achieve tension in the strap.
When taking portraits
A portrait is all about the subject, so remember to keep the focus on your child. The background is crucial, so remove any objects around or behind him that may fight for attention or, better yet, use a solid-coloured bedsheet as a backdrop.
You also want as much light as possible to take good photos of your child. Hart says that an off-camera flash works better to control shadows; alternatively, take the shot in a room that has a big window and, hence, plenty of natural light. “Talking to your child will put him at ease and hopefully bring out a range of facial expressions,” he adds. “Don’t criticise him or make him feel self-conscious, and keep the session short.”
At the beach or pool
First, remember to waterproof your camera. Hart suggests investing in a plastic cover. Taking underwater shots is not easy, and the bulky camera case can be tricky to handle, so be patient. If you want to photograph your kids performing a specific action – say, jumping out of the water – you may have to ask them to keep doing it until you get a good shot.