As parents, we cherish the moments when our little ones flash their genuine smiles. Capturing these authentic expressions on camera can be a stessful challenge, especially when relying on our smartphones for photography. In this blog post, we'll explore practical tips to not only improve your phone photography skills but also to elicit those priceless, natural smiles from your kids. Let's dive in and create cherished memories!
- Be in the Moment:
Engage with your child during the photoshoot and create a fun atmosphere. Play games, tell jokes, sing their favorite songs, dance along with them, or share a funny story. The more connected and relaxed your child feels, the more likely they'll reveal their true emotions in front of the camera. Only telling them to just say 'cheese' is a great way to get fakey/boxy smiles. Let them talk to you. Don't be afraid to look or act silly.
- Use Props and Toys:
Bring your child's favorite toys or props out. I often will use a feather duster (only used as a tickle monster. Never to clean) to lightly ticket kids faces and toes. This works especially well on babies and toddlers. Incorporating familiar objects will add a sense of comfort and familiarity, encouraging them to express their joy and curiosity while you capture those candid moments.
- Embrace Candid Photography:
Instead of asking your child to pose, let them play and explore naturally. Candid shots often capture the most authentic emotions and personalities of kids. Be ready to snap the picture at any moment!
- Follow the Light:
Pay attention to lighting conditions as it plays a significant role in photography. Utilize natural light whenever possible, and avoid harsh overhead lighting, which can cast unflattering shadows on your child's face. Take a quick look around before you get the phone out. You may be able to get a MUCH better picture by just taking a few steps into the shadows. Shooting in low artificial light will result in your phone taking a much lower quality image.
- Get Down to Their Level:
Instead of always shooting from above kneel or lie down to capture images from your child's eye level. This perspective adds a sense of intimacy to the photos and allows you to immerse yourself in their world, resulting in more engaging shots.
- Patience is Key:
Kids are full of energy and curiosity, which might not always align with your desired photo timeline. Be patient and willing to wait for the right moment to capture those genuine smiles and expressions. If you get frustrated it will be much harder to achieve a real smile.
- Encourage Interaction:
If you have multiple children, encourage them to interact with each other naturally. Sibling bonding moments are a treasure trove of heartfelt smiles and affectionate gestures. Give slightly older kids a prompt/game to encourage real giggles and playfulness. For example, if you want a picture of your kids with Grandma and Grandpa, instead of just plopping them onto the grandparents' lap and telling them to smile, try whispering in their ear and asking them to run up and give Grandma a hug. Or, have them sneak up behind Grandpa, hug his neck, and say "Boo!" This will result in natural interactions and, most often, big belly laughs.
- Utilize the Tools That Come with your Phones Camera:
Phone cameras often have a burst or live mode feature, these capture multiple shots in quick succession. This can be invaluable when trying to catch that perfect, split-second smile. After you're done shooting, go into edit mode and pick the exact frame you want. Portrait mode can be nice for an easy blurred background. iPhones offer a lighting adjustment tool as well. Press and hold onto the screen, a little sun icon will pop up. Drag it up or down to adjust the lighting of your image.
- Edit with Care:
After the photoshoot, use editing apps thoughtfully to enhance the colors and tones. Avoid over-editing, as it may lead to unnatural-looking photos. The goal is to preserve the authenticity of the moment. Common mistakes are over saturation, over exposure and using basic filters that interfere with the natural beauty of your image.
- Practice and Experiment:
Photographing kids is an art that improves with practice. Take every opportunity to capture their playful moments and try different techniques. As you gain experience, you'll become more adept at anticipating those magical smiles.
Photographing kids, especially capturing their genuine smiles, can be a rewarding experience with the right approach. Remember to be present, patient, and creative as you use your phone's camera to immortalize these precious moments. Embrace the joy and spontaneity of your children, and your phone photography will undoubtedly blossom into cherished memories that last a lifetime. Remember, while these tips will certainly level up your at-home photography game, there's no substitute for the expertise and creativity of a professional photographer when it comes to capturing those truly special and meaningful moments. Whether it's a once-in-a-lifetime event or a milestone worth cherishing, investing in a professional session ensures you'll have breathtaking images that you and your family will treasure forever.