I love capturing life on film! I don’t know as much as I would like about image composition and technical camera settings – and there are certainly things that could be “fixed” in the photo above. What makes me so happy, though, is that – perfect or not – the photo captures my son’s personality at age four, playing outside.
In fact, I find that the photos I treasure most are often far from perfect – like the photo of me and the kids from my Parenting Beyond Kairos post, and this photo of Mike with Lily:
I treasure these photos because, in all their imperfection, they captured the beauty of our everyday life!
And so, I present my best kid photography tips for capturing life on film:
- Keep the camera out all the time. This will allow moments to be captured, and it helps kids (and adults) get used to having the camera in their face so that they resist the urge to pose.
- Avoid using flash if at all possible. The bright flashing light disrupts any spontaneity that is there.
- Capture photos from a distance, and up close.
- If kids are acting self-conscious, try taking the camera away from your face and hoping auto-focus can do its job. Cameras are pretty smart these days!
- Instead of telling kids to smile or look at the camera, capture their attention in a natural way. Tell a joke, ask them to tell you a story, or ask them what they think about your silly hairdo.
- Be a good sport about being in photos yourself – your kids are watching and noticing!
And my few technical tips:
- Pay attention to lighting. If you want gorgeous photos of your kids playing indoors, set them up by a window – and stand with your back to the window so you get the light shining on them. Just make sure you aren’t casting a shadow on them!
- Avoid flash where you can. It distorts colors and creates shadows.
- If you’re in the market for a new camera, pay more attention to sensors and low-light performance reviews than to megapixels. A 14 megapixel camera with a poor sensor is (in my biased opinion) worth a lot less than an 8 megapixel camera with a great sensor.
- I love taking photos outside during that gorgeous time of day when it is just starting to get dark – you get a gentle light on everything, and nobody is squinting into the sun!
- Take a lot of photos – why not, with digital film where you pick the ones you pay to print?
- Learn about f-stops and ISO. Still working on that one…
- If you’re considering paying for Photoshop, try playing with GIMP first. You may still decide to pay for Photoshop, but GIMP has many similarities – and it’s free!
What are your top photography tips?