It’s been nearly a year since the first lockdown, yes nearly a year! I can’t quite believe it but hoping it won’t be long before we can give each other a big hug! Most of last year we spent at home like most of the people we know. As nurseries were closed, our girls were with us, and we tried our best to keep them entertained. We enjoyed making lots of crafts and going on family walks. Another thing I thoroughly enjoyed was taking photographs of them. Now you might think I always take pictures of them. I do but being at home all the time made me think outside of the box. It’s been a great experience to observe how light moves around our home and use this to my advantage when photographing my girls. It sparked an idea to write this blog for you. If you would like to improve your kids’ photography but don’t know where to start here it is! 7 tips on photographing kids at home.
Photographers are all about the light. This doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t be able to achieve wonderful portraits of your children if your house is dark most of the day. What you need to do is search for that lovely pockets of light and windows or patio/garden doors are perfect for that. If your kids are going to play on the floor, move toys closer to the window so that the light falls on kids faces and you also get great light on the toys. Make sure you capture the play from all angles to tell the story.
If you would like to take a portrait of your child/children sit them on the chair next to the window and engage with the conversation. Ask them about what they see, how they feel. Or even talk silly to make them laugh. You can ask them to move their face towards the window then to you then slightly away from the window. Remember to keep snapping as you will be able to see different shadows on their faces pending which direction they move. Try also to keep the background simple so that the full focus is on them.
Natural light & artificial light
Often people struggle with indoor photography because they don’t study light. If you live in a house where your light is limited, take time to know when there is the best light in each room. During one day walk around the house and every hour or so notice how much light falls in each room. Make notes throughout the day. Once the sun has gone to bed look at your notes and decide when and where there was the best light. Next day use this knowledge and practice a few shots. You will be amazed at the results.
It is also important to mention, make sure you turn off any artificial lights and lamps. They will make your photo look yellow and it will have an impact on the white balance. Say yes to windows and natural pockets of lights and no to artificial lighting. This will be a game-changer for your photographs.
Kids play, kids are messy, kids are quick! Don’t be afraid to capture this messy and fun time. Movement brings joy and life to the picture. It’s great to capture kids jumping on the sofa, pillow fights and of course dance! Turn on your favourite music and enjoy watching kids dance. Don’t worry if your picture might not be 100% sharp. It’s beautiful to see a dress swirling around and a little bit of blur is a fab way to illustrate movement.
Get creative with composition
I think we often hesitate to take pictures of our children because we don’t see anything different when they are playing with the same toys over and over. You should break those thoughts and think outside the box. When you see the kids playing, don’t interrupt them and grab your camera/phone. Take a picture of the scene first as you would probably normally do. Then take a picture looking down (you might want to use a chair to stand on to capture all kids and what they are playing with). Next, move around and take a picture of details such little hands holding toys, facial expressions and their tiny feet. They won’t stay tiny forever! Go low on the floor and maybe try shooting through so that you have something in the foreground blurred and focus on an interesting point further along. Don’t be afraid and just go for it. I am sure you will end up with lovely pictures and capture that genuine play. These will be fond memories to look back on when you remind yourself of toys that your children never put down!
Have fun with shadows
When you are observing how light moves around your house, pay attention to shadows. Write down when the light comes into each room and notice whether any interesting shadows are created on your walls, stairs or maybe there is a small pocket of light where you could creatively use to photograph your children. Ask kids to play in that corner and practice 🙂
Cuddly toy/favourite toy
If you don’t have a picture of your child and their cuddly toy or their favourite toy go do it now! I do believe that this picture will be the most treasured! Imagine in 20+ years you open a family album and you see your child holding one of their first-ever toys which they loved dearly and often couldn’t go sleep without it. You will smile to yourself and I am sure lots of memories and emotions will return to you and give you an amazing feeling inside your heart.
Let go of perfection
I said it before that kids are messy and when they play the last thing they think about is how messy the room looks like. Don’t get me wrong I love a clean house but I am getting used to mess when they play creatively and I often just watch them interacting with each other and coming up with various imaginative role play. My favourite is to attend a puppet show, pretend theatre and play under the made-up tent. Embrace this creative play and snap away their happiness.
I genuinely hope the above 7 tips on photographing kids at home will make you want to pick up your camera/phone and start snapping away. Enjoy the silliness, jumping around, giggles and most of all take time to just look at them and feel the love. Oh and DO NOT forget to print your photographs and hang them around the house! Your memories will stay alive.
Till next time