We don't often realise it, but a photograph is a wonderful gift for a parent to give to their children, moments captured in a photograph will always be a wonderful reminder of their childhood. Armed with some basic knowledge and a few good ideas, you can create beautiful images that you will all treasure, capturing the emotion, warmth love and a little bit of your child's personality forever. So read on below for my beginner's guide to child photography.
Start off with finding the best source of natural light. Wander about your home and garden at different times of the day, start noticing where the sun shines in or where there is lots of natural light. Encourage your children to play in those areas and get snapping!
Set the scene
One thing I always like to do and which is a really helpful tip for beginners is to set up a little scene. This can be a simple as selecting some toys for your child to play with, maybe a favourite book to read or drawing at the table. If you can get out into the garden then activities like chalk drawing on the patio or blowing bubbles work well.
And then declutter it!
One thing I tend to get distracted by is people take photos of their gorgeous kids but not clearing the shot. I find myself totally distracted from their cute offspring to the mess in the background, piles of paperwork, mountains of washing or cat food bowls on the floor. Now trust me, I know what it's like to be a busy parent but it doesn't take a moment to clear things out of shot.... we don't need minimalist living, just move it to another room or hide it in a cupboard!
Ready set go
Children don't sit still for long or don't like doing the same thing for too long either so be ready! It's always a good idea to have your camera set up ready to go with a few ideas in your mind of what you want to achieve, it's always good to have a game plan, and a plan to deviate from if you will!
Keep it fun
So you've found some pretty natural light, set the scene, given your child something to do, now it's important to add some fun elements to it to throw them off the scent that this is a photo session! Chat to them about what they are doing and snap away in-between. Let them have a little space and don't be tempted to direct them or ask them to smile. After they have had some time playing, you can often get some more directed shots. You can try things like "show me what you have made" or "blow the bubbles towards me" to get them to look at the camera. Get them to look towards a window so the light falls on their face, once you have had some fun and they are relaxed, children usually co-operate for a few more posed shots.
Make them feel special
If I want to capture one of my children on their own, I will ask them to come and sit on my big bed (light is usually better upstairs and plain bedsheets make for a lovely background). We will then chat, look out the window, sing or maybe play a game of 'sleeping bunnies', I do take photos but the key is not to take too many, just a few here and there. I would rather have 5 lovely shots of them than 50 of an annoyed child. The great thing about being on my bed is that it usually leads to hiding under the covers, bouncing and lots of giggling, which is just a great to capture.
The (not so) little things
Another thing to remember is to capture the details, her curly ponytail, the odd socks, chubby toddler legs, the gappy smile after those lost teeth, the way they hold a pen or stick their tongue out when they are concentrating. Little things like that make you smile and will become a great reminder of what they were like at a certain age.
I hope these tips are useful, grab your camera and let us know how you get on in the comments below!
Emily Walker is a natural light photographer based in Surrey but who works throughout the UK. Emily became obsessed with photography as a child when she would pour endlessly over family photo albums and smile at the memories captured. She would also love watching her dad use his Canon ae-1 as he patiently composed the shot and then waited for the perfect moment to capture it. These days, mum-of-three Emily can be found behind the camera herself, describing her style as natural, simple and fun.