- Easy Portrait Photography Tips for the Fall
- How to Learn Portraiture: Why Your Family is the Ideal Subject
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You don't have to be a world-class photographer to capture beautiful photos of your children.
In fact, you don't even need to have a high-powered camera!
Often, what makes the difference between a good photo and a spectacular photo is attention to little details - things like composition, understanding when and where to take portraits of your kids, and having the right tools to make your photos shine.
In this guide, I provide a few essential tips on these and other topics that will help you improve your skills for photographing your kids.
Choose Your Battles
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If your kid is like mine, there are times when having a picture made is totally fine, and other times when they act like it's torture.
As a result, you need to choose your battles when it comes to photographing your kids.
If they're just not feeling it, wait a few minutes and they'll likely have a completely different mood about the situation!
What's more, you can minimize the number of battles you have to fight by including your kids in the process.
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For example, rather than deciding what they'll wear for them, let them decide what they want to wear.
What's more, rather than dragging them off to some location you've picked, ask for their input.
This doesn't mean you have to make it a free-for-all, either...
Just give them three choices for their outfit and the location, and they'll feel much less like having their picture is something being forced upon them.
Shoot at Sunrise or Sunset
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By far, the best light of the day is at sunrise or sunset, when the light from the sun is soft and golden.
Since my little guy is so difficult to get up in the morning, our time to go outside, have fun, and take a few photos is during sunset.
Since the light is so spectacular at sunset, you don't even need to go someplace particularly special to get a great result.
The backyard, the tree house, or the neighborhood park will do just fine!
For the most dramatic shots, shoot toward the sun, that way the scene is backlit. The golden rays of the sunlight will frame your child perfectly in the shot.
Don't Stop Shooting
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A mistake that some parents make is that they try to formally pose their kids for one or two shots.
And while formally-posed portraits are fine, there are many possibilities for heartwarming candid shots between the "look at the camera and say cheese" moments.
To do so, put your camera in continuous shooting or burst mode. This allows you to take multiple shots in rapid succession (the number of shots depends on the camera).
This is ideal for situations in which your child is being active - like playing with the family dog - or when you're photographing multiple children together.
The laughs, smiles, and giggles that are bound to occur as they get lost in what they're doing can truly make for some wonderful, unplanned photos. And all you need to do is keep on shooting between each "say cheese" shot, and you can wind up with some awesome photos!
Give Them Something to Do or Hold
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One of the biggest problems with portraits for any age of subject is that they often don't know what to do - especially with their hands.
When you're photographing your kids, you can get around this by having them do something. Ask your five-year-old what their favorite animal is. Tell your teenager a corny joke. Give your kids bubbles to play with as you take their photo. Ask them to use their imaginations to transport themselves someplace else.
The point is that there are a million things you can have your kids do - think about something, act upon something, and so forth - that will help them relax, take their mind off the fact that you're taking a photo, and have a little fun at the same time.
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When using props, just be careful that you don't go overboard with them.
Instead, try to find ways to make the prop a meaningful part of the photo rather than just something for your kid to hold.
A favorite toy or stuffed animal is a great choice, though you can have them hold their big brother or sister's hand, cradle their sibling in their arms, hold the dog's leash, and so forth.
It doesn't have to be fancy to have a great impact on the shot!
Don't Worry About Getting the "Perfect" Portrait
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Not even professional portrait photographers take perfect portraits, so if you're just a casual photo-taking parent, don't bother stressing about having something that's completely spot-on.
Instead, work to master a few basic technical and artistic skills that will empower you to take improved photos, and let the subject of your photos - your kids - be the meaningful and perfect part of the portrait.
I find that the harder I strive for perfection when I'm taking portraits of my son, the less perfect the photos are.
So, just go with the flow, be okay with making mistakes, and enjoy the process!
Learn How to Edit Your Photos
You can concentrate on the composition of your photos and the gear you use and the camera settings you dial in all you want, but if you don't know how to edit your photos, you're missing out on a very important step in the process.
Now, this doesn't mean that you need to enroll in a Lightroom class at your nearest college or university, but having at least a working knowledge of how to process your images will get you much better results.
Lightroom can be a little intimidating at first, so for a complete introduction to Lightroom CC, check out the video above by LightroomTV.
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Something else you need to do is invest in a plugin that enables you to tag your photos (i.e., identify them based on subject matter) for better organization and to make your images easily searchable.
If you're like me, you have thousands of photos of your kids already, with thousands more to come over the years.
With all those images floating around, it's imperative that you keep them as organized as possible. Excire can help you do that.
Excire has two plugins - Excire Search and Excire Search Pro - which use artificial intelligence to make quick work of tagging and organizing your images.
Excire Search, for example, has 125 keywords for common objects that it automatically applies to images.
So, if you take a photo of your kid at the beach, Excire will automatically tag the photo with "beach."
Not only that, it'll also identify the predominant color of the shot and can recognize faces, too.
If the beach shot is of your little boy on a sunny day with a big blue sky, Excire will tag the shot with "blue," "male," and "child."
Just imagine how much easier it will be to find specific photos using this method rather than scanning through thousands of images on your computer!
Excire Search Pro takes things one step further with over 500 common keywords that adds even greater functionality.
Just like Excire Search, Excire Search Pro gives you the ability to search your images by keyword (i.e., "beach") and by example (i.e., if you select a photo of your kids skiing, Excire will find other photos of your kids skiing).
On top of that, Excire Search Pro has a keyword transfer function that allows you to apply the plugin's keywords to the entire Lightroom catalog, which makes searching and organizing your old photos a much easier process as well. It's the ultimate Lightroom hack! And since there's a 30-day free trial, you have nothing to lose.
Learn more about this exciting software in the video above by Anthony Morganti.
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Capturing great photos of your kids doesn't require tons of training or lots of expensive photography gear.
In fact, concentrating on a few details in the planning stage, while taking photos, and the post-processing stage will help you create images that turn into lasting memories.
Utilize these tips, and you'll see what I mean about improving the quality of the images you take of your kids!