Where To Photograph Your Children by Kit Hitchock, Photographer


We all love looking through our family photo albums, reminiscing over times gone by. Often though, we notice huge gaps of time that have gone by unrecorded, a seeming blank in the midst of our lives with our children. Here we all are on summer vacation, with several pages of photos of kids splashing on the beach, barbecues in the garden, and then the next page shows our Thanksgiving family photo. What happened in between?

When you are wondering where to take pictures of your children, don’t think that you have to photograph them in interesting or exotic locations.

Start with the place where you spend most time with them: at home. Children are usually most relaxed at home in familiar surroundings. You will be able to spend more time photographing them and waiting for the perfect picture, as you won’t be in a hurry to go somewhere else. You can take quick snapshots in between your chores or spend a relaxed sunny weekend afternoon taking pictures of your toddler engrossed in water play in the paddling pool.

Home Is Important

Home is an important part of your kids’ growing up years. No family album is complete without a bunch of everyday pictures of the children at home. We often think that our home doesn’t make an interesting enough backdrop for a photo, our garden isn’t picture perfect, the walls need a coat of paint. However, when you are looking back over the years in an album, it is often those pictures you prize. You may have moved house since and seeing familiar furniture in its old setting will spark off a thousand memories. Younger children will only have hazy memories of their old house and will love to see photos of themselves playing in the garden, splashing in the bath, sitting in the high chair in the old kitchen. It grounds them to have this visual evidence of their past.

In The Yard

In and around your house there will be loads of spots that lend themselves to great photos of kids: places where they naturally play anyway, like in the sandbox or paddling pool, peeping out from some bushes playing hide and seek, sitting on some steps. Inside the house you can take pictures of them curled up together on the couch looking at picture books, bundled up in towels after a bath, building houses in the living room, helping cook in the kitchen.

Look around your house for places that have great natural light for taking portrait photos. This is often somewhere that is out of direct sunlight, but with plenty of reflected light. Perhaps you have a porch or stoop that is shaded but with a white wall behind or to the side that bounces the light back; or a room with plenty of natural light coming in through big windows or a skylight. Don’t worry about the technical details, just experiment a little, taking a few pictures of your kids around your home. Look out for places that throw a soft light on your children’s faces without too many strong shadows. Once you find that place, it can be the key to great informal portraits and family groups – no more squinting into strong sunlight or blinking at just the wrong moment.

The Local Park

Of course getting out of the house is essential to your sanity with small children and you should always take the camera along too, as you never know when you might have a great photo opportunity. A visit to the park could produce some lovely action photos of the children on the slide or swings, running on the grass or smelling the flowers. Visiting friends and family gives you a chance to photograph your kids playing with other children or spending time with older relatives. All these times are part of the fabric of their lives and will enrich your photo album.

When you are out and about with your kids, look for places with great natural light. This could be dappled sunshine in the local park. but you can often take the perfect picture in surprising places. I found the most amazing soft light to photograph our kids in our local pizza restaurant. We were sitting at a table just inside the main window, with diffused sunlight filtering in from outside. Every photo I took of the kids that day, as they drew with wax crayons on the paper tablecloths while we waited for the pizza, turned out to be stunning, just because of the quality of the light. So be prepared to take photos of your kids in unexpected situations. With digital cameras allowing you to view your photos immediately, you can see straight away what results you are getting. If you get a great picture don’t stop at one. Keep photographing!

Vacations

Summer visits to the beach can be great for taking pictures of your kids. It’s lovely to have those idyllic pictures of paddling in the waves and building sandcastles, but you have to bear in mind a few things. First of all if you are the sole adult in charge of more than one young child, you will need eyes in the back of your head just to keep track of your kids, and are unlikely to be relaxed enough to take lots of pictures of the kids, so go with at least one other adult if you have photography in mind. Secondly the beach holds two of the biggest enemies of the camera: sand and salt water. So take along a re-sealable plastic bag to keep your camera protected when not in use.

Vacations are an ideal time for taking interesting photos too, with new places to explore and the relaxation of escaping your usual routine. If you’re traveling you’ll probably want to take photos of your sightseeing. Do take those classic tourist shots in front of famous monuments – they’re fun and part of the vacation, but also take photos of your children experiencing the things that are important to them. They’re probably more interested in a cute puppy on a leash than the famous building you’re photographing, so turn around and take a picture of them with it. Often they see the smaller details while you are looking at the big picture. Follow their eyes and you’ll get a whole new perspective on the world and take more interesting photos or your kids too.

Take photos of your children anywhere and everywhere. Try to get into the habit of slipping your camera into your handbag whenever you go out. Who knows, perhaps you’ll stop off for an ice cream after a shopping expedition to the mall and snap a fantastic shot of your kids, wide-eyed with anticipation clutching at their cones or wide smiles beaming out from faces plastered with chocolate ice cream!

Child Photographer

Child Photographer



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