Kids grow up so fast. One day we’re carrying them home from the hospital and the next day they’re off to college. We all want to keep and cherish memories of them through the years and the best way to do this is by taking photos that we can look back on forever.
Over the years, you occasionally will get professional photos taken by a professional photographer. Major events, like baptisms for example, may warrant you hiring a professional photographer to capture the special day. But you won’t always be able to call on the pros for every occasion. You probably already take tons of photos of your kids with your smartphone, as we all do, but do you feel like they could be better?
Why not take your smartphone photography up a notch and learn a few simple tips and tricks to help you take better photos of your kids.
What You Need to Take Great Photos of Your Kids
You already have a smartphone, and that’s great. Learn how to use your smartphone’s features to take the best photos you possibly can. Every phone brand and model has different options and camera features. Search online to watch video tutorials about your specific phone and model. You’ll probably be surprised at all the things that you’ll learn about your phone.
Now that you’ve mastered your phone, you’ll need a few technical and creative tips and tricks to take amazing photos of your kids.
There are a few ways to take photos of kids. You can set up a studio-type setting for portrait shots or you can capture candid moments of them in everyday life. Whatever you choose, a few handy smartphone accessories can help you achieve the photos that you want.
A tripod always comes in handy when you want to stabilize your phone in low-light situations or when shooting portrait shots.
- Remote Shutter
You’ll be amazed at how handy a remote shutter is when photographing children. You can continue to interact with them and click the shutter without them knowing.
Kids love their toys! A great way to keep them engaged is to keep them interested. Make sure to have toys on hand.
Fun tip: Attach something fun and interesting on your phone and they will look directly into the camera so you can get those great eye shots.
Technical Tips for Taking Photos of Children
Taking studio-like photos and taking lifestyle photos require different settings. The most important thing to remember is to keep it fun for the kids. Chances are your photos won’t be so great if you are stressed and pressuring them. Here are some simple tips for each occasion. Stay calm and be flexible. Your plans will probably change as you adapt to the kids’ moods.
Shooting Portrait Photos
Choose an area in your home that is free of clutter. The background is important because if you have too many objects in the photo it may distract the attention from the child.
- Phone Settings
Most phones have portrait mode now and this is a great way to create depth of field. Using portrait mode will separate the background from your child and create a blurry background effect.
Tip: Tap the screen to focus on the eyes.
Lighting is key to achieving great photos. Natural light is normally the most flattering light. Look at how light comes in through windows and set up the portrait shoot so that the light hits the child in a favorable way.
Try to avoid using the flash on your camera and remember that overhead house lighting can create harsh shadows on faces.
A tripod and a remote shutter are highly recommended when doing portrait shots. Secure your phone in the right settings on your tripod and step away from it so that the child doesn’t feel too intimidated. She may even forget that you are taking photos and that’s when you get the best natural photos that don’t look posed.
Shooting Lifestyle Photos
You can take lifestyle photos inside or outside your home. The key to the best lifestyle shots is to take photos of children doing their thing in their natural environment. They don’t have to be looking at the camera.
Pro Tip: Get down to their level. Sit or lay on the floor to gain a better perspective of your young subjects.
- Phone Settings
You can use portrait mode also while doing lifestyle shots. You can also use burst mode for the more active photos. Your phone will take several rapid photos that you can choose from.
Helpful trick: Lock the focus on your subject by long-pressing on your screen. This way if they move they will remain focused in your photos.
Golden hour is a great time to take outside photos. The last hour or so before sundown creates a golden hue and long shadows.
Creative Ideas to Get Amazing Shots of Kids
Prepare the photoshoot by coordinating outfits that aren’t too loud (big logos on t-shirts and big prints, for example). This can be distracting and take away the attention from your child. Also, try to coordinate outfits in a complimenting color palette, but don’t match your children’s clothing for the shoot.
- Macro Shots
Get in close and take photos of details, like feet or fingers, for example.
- Different Perspectives
As we mentioned earlier, getting down to their level can let you take better photos. Also, think about taking photos from the top for some interesting shots as well. Simply said, don’t take all your photos in a standing position with the phone at eye level.
Taking photos of newborns can be tricky. It’s recommended to work around the baby’s schedule and set up the shoot when the baby is not hungry and is warm. Also, taking photos of your baby while he or she is sleeping will give better results.
Set up a DIY backdrop with a neutral sheet or blanket. Use props like baskets, furry blankets, soft plush toys, and anything else that you think can contribute to the shot.
Fun Photo project: Take photos of your baby with the gifts that he/she received from friends and family and send them the shots.
Now that you’ve got some great shots that you are proud of, what do you do with them?
Edit Your Best Shots
Editing photos is essential if we want pro-looking shots. Take the time to learn an editing app like Snapseed, Lightroom, or even Photoshop. Here are a few simple things that you can do to instantly make your photos better.
- Straighten the horizon lines.
- Pop the colors.
- Erase unwanted objects.
- Transform to Black & White.
Share Your Photos
Now that you’ve got shots that are edited and look like a pro took them it’s time to print them. Online businesses like Shutterfly can design and print photo books and also print your photos on a variety of objects like coffee mugs, pillows, t-shirt, and more.
Join our Facebook page Shoot Like A Pro with Your Smartphone to get more tips and tricks about smartphone photography. Share your photos and ideas with like-minded people in the fun community.