I absolutely love summer. Even if the British weather doesn’t always play ball, it’s great to get out and about on adventures with my toddler (and this year my youngest son too). My son just loves being outside. We visit the woods, the forest, parks, reservoirs, lakes and beaches and he loves them all. In fact, he loves just being in the garden too.
Some of my absolute favourite photos of my children are unposed and taken outdoors. And for that reason, I think, summer is the best time of year for getting candid pictures of the little ones you’ll cherish forever.
I’m no pro photographer! I have a smartphone and a DSLR and the latter typically stays in automatic mode! But I’ve managed a few really lovely photos of the boys outside enjoying themselves. That said, I’m always up for learning a little more about shooting the perfect photo, so I enlisted the advice of some amazing professionals. They’ve agreed to share their tips to help you to take the perfect summer photos of your children, regardless of whether you’re using a phone or a pro camera. SO let’s hand over to the professionals!
Over the past 10 years Vicki Knights has become of the UK’s leading family and child photographers. Her work has been featured in national press and she speaks at Europe’s biggest photography convention. Vicki has been teaching parents how to take great photos of their own children for the past 6 years through her workshops and online course. Here’s her advice:
Try lying down on the floor when you take photos of your children outside. It gives your photos a completely different perspective. I find this is particularly useful when you’re in more confined outdoor spaces like gardens, where there isn’t always enough space to get effective separation between your children and the background in your photographs.
My other top tip is to take your photos during the “Golden Hour.” By avoiding the midday sun, you escape the harsh shadows, overexposed hot spots and squinting! The Golden Hour is the first hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. Towards the end of summer, when the sunset gets a little earlier, this is a great time to snap your little ones as the light is much softer and significantly better for getting great photographs.
Find out more about Vicki’s work:
Artistic Child Photography
Artistic Child Photography specialises in maternity, newborn, baby and children photography. She strives to present each photo as its own work of art and deliver heart-felt portraits for you to cherish in the years to come. Attention to detail and their unique post processing style is something Aga takes great pride in. Here are three super tips from Artistic Child Photography:
Photography has become an everyday part of our lives. We take pictures every day but rarely pay attention to the details that can affect the quality of the images. These simple technical tips will help you take better pictures of your children during the summer.
Light is a crucial aspect of photography. The position of the sun and the amount of light affect the quality of the images. If you want to take pictures of your children with the best natural light you should start doing it two hours before sunset. That’s when the sun is low and produces redder and softer light which is more flattering compered to the sun higher in the sky.
Clothing can also make a difference in the quality of a photo. Less is always more in photography. Go for plain clothing in natural earthy tones for timeless photos. Avoid clothing with cartoon characters and busy patterns as they still the attention away from your child and are very distractive to the image.
And finally, another tip of great importance is related to the anxiety of the photographer to get the photos he/she wants. Do not direct your children or ask them to pose in a certain way. Let your children act naturally and wait for the right moment to capture the image. You always get better pictures when the children enjoy their time and are spontaneous.
Finally, make sure to enjoy the moment yourself. Remember that photography is an art and as such reflects the sensitivity and feelings portrayed.
Find out more about Artistic Child Photography’s work:
Laurence Jones is an award-winning, international photographer specialising in children and families. He creates beautiful images in an outdoor, natural style – see his work as a childrens photographer.
Laurence’s tips are:
Don’t say “I’m going to take some photos now” – you’ll just get cheesy grins. Instead, plan ahead a little. Get an activity going and take photos as they play. If you want them looking at the camera, just chat and ask questions. Be involved yourself, so the photos are just part of a fun time. The children will be more animated and you’ll get natural expressions.
Set up the activity (paddling pool, game, tea set etc) in the shade. This will avoid harsh shadows on faces and squinty eyes. If you have to be in the sun, have the sun on their backs and the camera facing into the sun. You’ll need to avoid ending up with silhouettes by using the exposure compensation on the camera if there is one (eg +1 stop), or on a phone, tap on the screen on one of their faces, so the phone knows that’s the most important thing in the photos.
Watch out for what’s in the background! A washing line, brightly coloured toys, the side of your house, can all distract from the main focus of the photos – the children. So when you are setting up the activity, plan ahead and know where you are going to be taking photos from.
If the camera has a zoom facility, don’t use a very wide angle setting. That will create distorted features in close ups, like giant noses and strange shaped heads. Instead, use a medium telephoto part of the zoom. If like on a phone, there is no zoom and it’s fixed at wide angle, just don’t get too close unless you don’t mind a bit of a distorted look.
Find out more about Laurence’s work:
Christopher Czermak is a photographer and student with a wealth of experience in photographing people and landscapes alike.
He uses a Nikon D7000 camera, but also takes excellent quality photographs of people and places using a smartphone when he doesn’t have a camera to hand. His tips centre around getting better results just using your smartphone camera.
When photographing people, lighting is critically important. That’s why photographers might often use what is called, “Aperture Priority,” mode on a camera. This is highly unlikely to be available on your smartphone though. And it’s your phone that you’re most likely to have during the unexpected moments that so often make the best photos. So whether you’re just looking to capture a spontaneous moment or you simply don’t have access to a high end camera, it’s a good idea to get as much out of your phone’s camera as you can. While Instagram and other networks allow you to add filters to bring photos to life after you’ve taken them, there’s a way to bring more out while you’re taking them.
You can use an app called MuseCam on your phone that lets you take near full control of your camera and adjust lighting and colour settings. Try using the “White Balance,” setting. It’s great for adjusting photo colour as or before you take them. Yellow like tones really add a layer of warmth to outdoor photos, perfect for those summer days.
Find out more about Christopher’s work:
Try and Test!
I’ve already been trying some of these tips out. My neighbours might well be confused as to why I’ve taken to spending so much time lying on the ground in the garden, but I’ve been getting some lovely photos of my toddler. And I intend to put loads more of these brilliant tips into practice over the summer months.
I would absolutely LOVE to see the results you get from trying out some of these tips. Tweet me (@onesmallhuman) with your photos!