Tips for taking great photos of your children in lock down
There’s no denying this is a unique old time we’re going through at the moment. A period we’ve never experienced before and may never experience again. One thing I decided early on, was that I really wanted to capture what this time is like for us as a family so we have it to look back on. How we spent our days, the types of activities we chose to do. At that point, I made a conscious effort to get the camera out and keep it out somewhere where I can always grab it. In normal life, my camera often stays packed away for when I’m going to need it for work. But over the last few weeks it’s been out and about in the house, and I have absolutely loved having it to hand. With that in mind, I thought I’d put together a little collection of tips which could help you when trying to take photographs of your little ones at home during this lock down time!
- Firstly relax and have no expectations. Children can tell if you’re feeling short on time, or indeed if you have a very specific something that you’re trying to pose or capture (then they definitely try to do everything they can to make sure you don’t get it, ha!). Try to avoid setting them up in certain positions, or asking them to smile a certain way, and just sit back and let those lovely candid moments just happen.
- Leave your camera somewhere to hand (but out of danger!) Try to find a place in your home where you can keep your camera safely out and to hand. Things move quickly with children, and if you have to run upstairs to grab it, the moment has often passed. If you keep it somewhere in the space that’s most used by your family, you’re more likely to catch those little gems as they happen.
- Use natural Light. Forget flash, and just use the natural light available in your home. Try to consciously become aware of it. Look out for interesting little pockets of light and play around with it. Look for the lightest room, maybe you have blinds or light curtains which diffuse the harsh sunlight coming through. Try to entice the children into that space to play and then experiment with the light coming through. I remember someone said to me when I first started taking photographs that you have to learn light, you can’t always see it from the start, but the more you look for it, the more you learn what to look for. Sometimes when my two don’t co-operate but I’ve seen some light I’ve liked, I’ve been known to grab the nearest toy and plop it there and shoot anyway!
- Have fun with them. One thing I really like to do is to plan an activity (and we are doing A LOT of that at the moment) and then have the camera to hand. Baking, painting, building a marble run, playing in the water sprinklers.. the children are always engaged in these types of activities which results in lovely, genuine shots of your little ones (or not so little!). Bathtime is also a really good one, as generally the little ones are relaxed and you can really capture some lovely shots!
- Capture the little things. This is a time when we are all together as a family much more than we ever normally are, and it’s lovely to notice all those little things that may normally pass you by. I am loving watching my kids concentration faces, or those little periods of time when they love each other dearly (and aren’t shouting at each other for breathing too loudly, or playing with the one toy out of the 200 that the other one coincidently wanted to play with at exactly the same time!). It’s the little things that are often the hardest to remember years down the line, and that’s why they’re the most precious to capture.
- Move around. Don’t be afraid to get active. It’s all too tempting to take photos from your eye level, but that won’t give you the best perspective as you’re so tall compared to them. Get close to their little faces, get down low and take photos from their level, or from directly above, change your perspective and be playful!
- Take as many as you like! If you’re working on a digital camera don’t hold back! Take a lot, kids move and blink and capturing something you’d like to keep can take quite a few attempts! So keep on clicking away and hopefully you’ll capture that perfect shot that you love!
- Play around with your settings. If you normally use auto for everything, take this chance to play with your other settings whilst you have the time at home! If you know the basics of photography, you can change your aperture to try and get that lovely bokeh behind your subject, or maybe increase your shutter speed to capture a mid air shot of a jump in the garden.
- Save a select few in a designated place. This totally depends on what free time you currently have. But where possible try to keep a couple of the shots you’ve taken in a particular place (I have an 'Covid Isolation' folder on my computer) and I just pick the best shots from the day and add them to that. After we are safely (hopefully) through this, i'll make a little book with all the images i've captured in. A memory of the time we've been lucky enough to spend together as a family.
Lastly, and most importantly, have fun!! If anyone is in the process of learning, and would like any feedback on photos they maybe be taking of their own children, please feel free to fire them over to email@example.com!