It’s officially here…summer…fianlly, right? At least for us Michiganders, it looked like it would never come. Now pushing towards July we have near 90º temps, nighttime fireworks, beach days are planned, bbq’s are hot, juice boxes set on ice…and of course something special for mommy and daddy! Here’s the thing, you just want to chill, but also remember those fleeting summer days with fun photos of your carefree days..or at least some of them because let’s face it, the house isn’t going to clean itself and neither is my husband!
Even if you don’t have a fancy camera..and if you do…GET IT OUT let’s learn some simple tips to get great photos of your kids actually smiling!
Not all of my tricks work on all kids, but over the last 8 years of shooting families I’ve learned to adapt and evolve, I hope at least one of these can work for you! Please enjoy my 5 tips for getting some great summer photos.
Get on their level.
Do this by sitting down, squatting, kneeling, anything that gets you low. Shooting kids from above can get you some great shots, I actually do it a lot, but if you really want to capture their size and innocence get low get low…ok now I have Lil Jon in my head.
Yes, you heard me right, fake farts are best though. I mean who doesn’t love a good fart?! Don’t lie! Kids, girls and boys think it’s the best. If your kids are too classy for this then move on to tip #3! Also, if you need detailed instructions on how to make fart noises you might want to invest in a whoopie cushion!
Just pretend you’re a National Geographic photographer…hopefully your kids aren’t going to attack or eat you so the principle here is to just wait for the moment. If the kids are playing in the pool…wait for that moment when they are going to jump in or do a mega cannonball. If you have a small blowup pool like me I like to sit on the ground nearby and wait for other moments. See the feature picture. I’m also a huge lover of foreground (and foreplay but let’s not go there haha), getting that little bit of pool, tree, grass, pole or whatever in part of the shot gives you a sense of a true candid photo.
This one might backfire on you, it has on me A. LOT. BUT if you get the right kid, it’s so fun! I learned this little trick from my daughter…she never wanted to smile, but when I told her not to she immediately started cracking up! At times she’d actually ask me to tell her NOT to do things and then crack up even more. It turned into a fun game that we still do now and she’s 7! I’ve done this at photo shoots telling kids, “don’t smile” and they get the most serious face and take it literally…that’s when you need to move on, and quick! Try it out and see what happens!
Follow the light!
Any professional photographer and even amateur will know that to get a great picture it’s all about the light. Without light there is nothing. This topic can get really in-depth, but to keep it simple I want you to try and stop a few things…first wait for that golden light that you get a few hours before sunset…shoot then if you can….if all your fun is happening mid-day, which is more common get those kids out of the sun and in the shade, have them in the shade and face towards the light, not necessarily the sun, but towards the line of shadow and sun. This will give them great light on their faces without being washed out from the sun. If you’d like to learn more about lighting techniques comment below.
Hopefully you didn’t skim through this without reading to much, because instead of being in the pool with my kids I wrote this, but also had a soft parade nearby so no need to feel too bad, insert eye wink.