2. Be mindful of where the light is coming from.
If you’re taking photos outside, it is best to avoid the harsh, midday sun, as it’ll make your subjects squinty, and the shadows will be unflattering and difficult to work with. Taking photos during “golden hour” is ideal—this is the hour or two before and after sunrise and sunset. There are several online tools and phone apps to help determine golden hour by location.
It’s also important to pay attention to where light is falling inside of your home. Many overhead lights can be harsh; window light is best, but you don’t want it falling directly in front of your subject’s face. In all of these photos, the light was coming in through a sliding glass door, off to the side.
3. Don’t fuss about their outfits!
The more comfortable your kids are, the better, even if it doesn’t seem to be the “perfect” outfit. If your goal is to capture your kids doing what they love, then an elaborate setup with props and special clothes isn’t necessary. There’s also a greater chance that they’ll be more cooperative if they are comfortable!
4. Capture them doing what they enjoy.
Let’s face it, kids have lots of interests, and most of them enjoy being active rather than sitting still. This can make it difficult to take good photos! If you know ahead of time that you want to take some photos, consider setting them up with an art project, or giving them some books to read. For these example photos, my son was dropping dinosaur capsules into a glass of water and watching them grow.
5. Be patient!
Kids are often unpredictable, and sometimes they simply aren’t in the mood for photos—and that’s okay. It can take several tries to end up with a single good photo (ask me how I know!). To go along with tip #4, the best photos come when you don’t ask your kids to “smile for the camera.” See below for a less-than-awesome photo of my son cheesing. Instead, just observe what they’re doing, and wait for the right moment. That’s what I did with the last photo, and I think it does a good job of showing his enjoyment and interest in watching the dinosaurs grow.