How to be the best kids photographer for your own kids

I am obviously a fan of getting professional photos taken of your family but understand that there are many moments in between those sessions that are just as important to photograph. I am often asked by parents to share tips on how get the best photos of your kids. Below, I’ll share three that I follow when photographing Amelie. By practicing these, you should be on the path to preserving special moments in your family’s life that won’t wind up on a Pinterest Failure blog.

1. Learn to be sensitive to good lighting. Finding good light is one of the most important technical skills you can attain.
Lighting tip: watch your kid’s eyes. If you can see catch lights or the color is really beautiful then you likely are in a spot of good light.

Practice seeing good and bad light. GOOD LIGHT: Golden hour is a time shortly after sunrise or right before sunset when the light’s intensity is reduced. This is a great time to begin developing your eye for good light. Point the kids faces in to the sun and watch their eyes. BAD LIGHT: Take your child outside at noon when the light is at it’s harshest. Compare those images to the ones you took at Golden hour to begin training your eye to see the difference.

2. Keep a camera close. I use the Sony RX1 for my personal camera. It’s a very nice camera with phenomenal image quality yet it’s also very compact and convenient. It’s not quite to the caliber of a camera I would take on a professional session but it’s perfect for photos at home. I keep it set out and am ready to grab it whenever my daughter is in a great mood or something is happening that we want to document.

3. Learn to take photos when you’re not looking in the camera’s viewfinder. This can be a tricky one. If I notice the camera distracting my daughter from the moment, I will take my eye off of the viewfinder and hold the camera to the side. I aim the camera in her direction and continue to interact with Amelie to keep the moment alive. No matter how small your camera is, it can be distraction for your child because it’s really your eye contact that they are responding to. This method does take some practice and you may end up with several heartbreakingly blurry photos, but at the same time, the approach helps create authentic imagery. Once you start to get good at this, you will learn to chase your kids and play with them while taking photos at the same time. I’ve mastered tickling, jumping back, and running backwards while photographing kids. I’m still working on my cartwheel. Create an environment that encourages their best.

Now for some real life examples. Here are a small selection (yes, there are hundreds more) of images of what life has been like for our family for the last few months.

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