I'm NOT a pro. These are just my tips that work for me, and that have gotten me great shots of my very active 2 year old.
So for all you mommy "fauxtographers" here are my tips for getting better photographs of your toddler.
Lighting is probably one of the most important elements of getting a good picture. I love shooting outside in natural light, because it means you don’t have to use the flash, which sometimes causes ugly shadows and weird skin coloring. It’s best to find an area that’s not getting hit directly with sunlight, or you’ll wind up with a bunch of pictures of your child squinting. Overcast days are great. I also really love back-lit pictures. (This where the light is behind the subject.)
You can see here how the direct sunlight is causing some shadows on her face
(Easter last year by the way...she's getting so big!)
And here you can see in doors with no natural lighting through windows causing the flash going off is dark, and shadowy.( not a great picture, but perfect example)
Here this is better:
natural lighting coming through the sliding glass doors
( one of my favorite pictures)
Overcast sky, Don't worry about it being a little cloudy outside! See no Shadows on the face.
2. Stop Saying “Cheese”
Yes, asking everyone to say “cheese” creates a smile — a cheesy smile. In some of my favorite pictures of my daughter, she isn’t even looking at the camera. She’s in her own element, running around, having fun. This really helps to capture your child’s personality. You’re also more likely to get a picture of them with a genuine smile if they are in a good mood, rather than being forced to sit down and say “cheese.”
3. Take a Lot of Pictures
Like I said, I’m not a professional, so sometimes I have to take 20 pictures just have two or three that are good. So click, click, click away!
Also, as my daughter gets older, it’s getting a little more challenging to get her to sit still, and look at the camera. I used to be able to set her down, put whatever kind of bow I wanted her to wear in her hair, and take a great picture, because she couldn’t get up and walk away. Now I just keep snapping pictures until I get one that works.
Most of the time I get Pictures of Ava's back, because she's running around like this:
But keep shooting because amazing stuff like this happens:
Getting at eye level with your child will help you capture the moment from their perspective. And isn’t that what taking photos of your kids is all about?
5. Use a Simple Background
Avoid clutter in the background. In my dining room, I have a huge window that lets in a lot of nice light. I open the blinds, close the curtains, set down a white blanket, and there you go: a nice little studio.
You can always hang up a sheet if you don’t have solid colored curtains. I did this for my daughter’s Christmas pictures. I threw down a bunch of present bows, and she played with them in her little Christmas dress. The pictures came out great.