Have you discovered yet how difficult it is to get your own kids to stand still long enough for you to snap a quick picture? Or, maybe you’ve found (like me) that asking your child to simply be “natural” isn’t in their vocabulary yet. And then there’s this one – which frustrates me the most: the minute your child is in front of someone ELSE’s camera, they are an angel. How irritating is that? It’s almost worse when the person behind the camera says “you have such an easy child – you’re so lucky”. Ha! If they knew the behind-the-scenes trauma of trying to get just ONE nice picture for the family holiday card, they’d go running.
Why is this? Why is taking pictures of our own children so difficult? In my experience, there’s a couple of things at play. While we most certainly can’t align the sun, moon, AND stars, we can at least align a couple of them at any given moment…with a little practice and a little education.
Get in the Mood
Capturing your children when they are simply playing makes for a great photo. If you are constantly bugging your child to “look over here” and “smile!”, they are going to do the exact opposite every time. By trying to force the mood, you’re actually setting yourself up for more frustrations – from both you and your child. Instead, keep your camera handy and just take a couple of pictures when your children are doing what comes naturally – playing! Let them enjoy themselves, stand back and take some pictures from the sidelines. The smiles and joy will be much more natural-looking and real.
Meet them where they are
Lots of times I see parents who try to pose their children in rows or in a certain styles as if these little munchkins could take direction like a grown model. They can’t! Rather than forcing them to stand a certain way or in a certain area, get down on their level and take the pictures of them where they are. If you position yourself well (at about a 45 degree angle) with the light behind your child, and get down to their level, you will get a stunning picture. But remember – move yourself…not your child.
Know your camera
Take the little booklet that came with your camera out and start to read it. Play around with the buttons and take a couple of pictures around your house to see what happens when you change things up. Make notes of settings you like and which ones you don’t. Go online and watch a YouTube video tutorial that someone has done about your camera make and model (there is one for almost every kind of camera). Click pause every now and then and try out the technique they shared. But do ALL of this before ever trying to get a good picture of your child. Children are constantly on the go. If you try to say “stop, right there…wait. I just need to figure out which setting to use….” you are setting yourself up for failure. Kids can’t stay focused that long and you’ve missed your window of opportunity. By knowing your camera before hand, you will be ready when that perfect moment happens.
Don’t forget….sometimes, the picture is just not meant to be. We’ve all had time with our kids that they become a big blur, or they are over exposed, or their faces are completely dark. It happens! But if you work on the 3 big items above, they will be less likely to happen and you will be more likely to get a picture you love.
Want to find out more great tips like these? Join us for our Mommy and Me Shutterbug Class on February 18th from 10AM-1PM. There’s food, plenty of easy-to-use info, a babysitter for your children, and FREE GIFTS from businesses like Office Depot and Bladerunner Hair and Nail Salon. Plus, everyone gets a professional digital master image of themselves with their child/children. There are limited spots, so be sure to sign up for yours today!