“Hey Baby, Say Cheese” – Playing The Perfect Shutterbug Parent
Parenthood and Childhood, both are very exciting phases in each of our lives. As much as, we, parents and children juggle with activities competing with time, there are definitely moments we want to freeze for a moment and take time to enjoy them to the fullest. There are umpteen number of instances in a day, we would want to remember and cherish fondly forever.
Technology, once again, proved to be a boon when it comes to capturing; creating and storing these never-come-back memories forever. Every other day we see some of the best baby and child portraits all over the internet. With the increasing number of photography enthusiasts everyday, it is of little surprise that we get to see some really aww-inducing candid shots every other day.
When I had my first baby, I spent a lot of time to study and research on how to capture her best as she grows. Following are some lessons that I picked along and would like to share on how to capture childhood memories that will take you down the nostalgic lane every time you look at them.
- Firstly, if you were never keen on photography before, start now to gain familiarity with it. It not only is a great hobby but also comes with a lot of perks. You can spend hours together with your kids capturing “that” best shot without worrying about a professional photographer’s time and budget.
- Like all tutorials repeat, do not worry about the camera, learn to capture first. Well.. not really. In my opinion, if you have been waiting for a time to upgrade to a good DSLR, this is THE time. Go ahead and invest in a good camera, it would give you good returns along. It is also wise to get a low-end portrait lens if you are buying a DSLR for good quality portraits. If you are not considering a DSLR now, even a point and shoot would serve the purpose well.
- Study what makes good photographs. When looking at a portrait, observe the composition of the pic and take time to understand what makes the pic that lively. Observe the backgrounds, colors and light. There are a number of resources on the internet like Pinterest, Flickr and even Google. Try searching for portrait ideas for kids of age x, depending on your need.
- Try to shoot in natural light which is not too harsh. It creates clean pictures. If shooting during harsh lights diffuse the light through a white solid cloth/curtain. Always place your child in a direction such that the light is opposite him. Ex: In front of a window/ door.
- Refrain from using flash. It not only spoils the photograph but also is not very good to use for the tender eyes of a baby/ younger kids.
- When capturing a portrait, it is best to go to the eye level of the subject. So, once again with your kids – Go on your knees.
- Capture a new-born/young baby in their natural skin with only a diaper or dress them in all-white with a solid white bed sheet.
- Try to capture your baby on different solid sheets of varying textures – like fleece, wool, etc. Avoid using patterned sheets or dressing your baby in bold patterns during portraits. It puts the subject out of focus and also looks haphazard.
- For photographing babies under one, collect creative props. Use a neutral light background such as white/beige and use the prop as an accent.Ultimately, your photograph would have two major colors on one look. Some props that you could use with babies are crotched bands with flowers, crotchet hats/beanie hats, a big ball, a single soft toy, a basket, etc.
- The first year is the most special one and every first deserves to be noted during that year. Capture how your baby changes every month. Try to take the pic in the same location such as couch/basket, in same clothes every month or you could take a white onesie/t-shirt and mark it with the number of the month. Also, you could have a chalkboard with the stats written in the background like weight, height, favorites, etc. Collate all at the end of the first year.
- First year milestones- Again every milestone deserves a double applause, the first year. Capture the first smile, first rolling over, first cooing, first sitting unsupported, first crawl, eating solids first time, first steps, first words, etc. A short video of actions would stay in your hearts forever and hey..you have something to play at you kid’s wedding.
- For older kids, choose a pleasant day for outdoor shots. The best props would be your kid playing with bubbles with an infectious smile, holding a bunch of Helium balloons, wearing a long-floor touching gown for girls, holding a bunch of flowers, etc. Again, pay attention to colors, neutrals plus accents. Shots with natural greenery in the background look great, too.
- Photographing with a parent/sibling – Try to dress alike and use similar props such as headbands, sun-glasses, caps, T-shirts with cute messages,etc and pose similarly. Get the similarity in you, out as much as possible for some really cute shots. For younger kids, holding the kid in air and capturing the sky in background with the kid from below makes a great shot. (Please hold the child tight first. You can pose later!)
- Seasons – Dress your kids for the season and capture the essence of the season in your portraits. Summer – Juice/Goggles and beach, Winter-Sweater/winter Caps/Snowman/Christmas, Rain – Umbrellas, etc.
- Family shots – Again dress alike, solids work the best. Blue denim and white shirts for the family are one classic example for a well-lit indoor shot.
- Montage Videos- Collect all the major photographs and short videos in the year and prepare a montage video each year. You can play it at your kid’s respective year birthdays and take a trip down the memory lane with the year in review.
Above are some of the ideas for photographing with your kids and family. So, pick up your cameras and start clicking. More importantly live each moment well first, then capture it and cherish it.
What are your ideas for capturing memories with older kids and family? Leave your comments, ideas and suggestions.
Tejaswini is a mom to a lovely one and half year old girl, from Hyderabad, presently living in the US. She is an engineer in IT, by profession. A newbie blogger, photography and painting enthusiast, internet junkie, she enjoys reading and discovering nature when she is not running after her now naughty toddler. She is a dreamer and dreams of being a super-woman excelling at both work and home fronts, doing equal justice to both, someday. She has a personal blog at http://acacaphonyofmiscellany.blogspot.com/