Tips for More Authentic Lifestyle Photography with Littles
When Tad was a newborn, I couldn't wait until he started walking, and not for the reason that you might think. As a photographer, it was difficult to figure out how to take photos of him when all he could do was lay there. I was dying for the moment that he could run off and explore, and I, in turn, could capture those little moments where he was standing somewhere without me holding him. Now that his newborn days are over, I am thriving through photography, and of course missing that vegetable baby phase as well. Like all new moms, I was figuring out life with a baby, and figuring out how to capture one on camera was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Looking back, even only a year ago, I would have done so many things differently when it came to photographing my baby. Today, I am going to send off some of my tips and tricks for capturing more aesthetically pleasing and authentic lifestyle photography with little ones.
Get on their level. Children are, in general, much smaller and shorter than we adults (; In my opinion, I don't like looking at a photo of a child from my perspective, at least not all of the time. I find a child's perspective much more interesting and unique. Try squatting or kneeling down beside them to capture their essence or to change the mood of the photo. I find it helps to use the Rule of Thirds when capturing an aesthetically pleasing photo. Move your subject within the intersecting lines, and it becomes much more natural to view!
Find your light. Have you ever watched America's Next Top Model? I watched that religiously as a preteen. I desperately wanted to become one of those models, but I learned so much more about photography watching that show (and figuring out how to capture models) than I did about fashion or having great hair. Jay and Tyra always said, "find your light!" and now I know what they meant. I find a lot of photos on places like Facebook and Instagram lack good lighting. When it comes down to it, natural light is the best option, especially when it comes to indoor photography. Place your subject next to a window or in a space where the sunlight is coming in. This will brighten up your subject, room, and overall photograph!
Don't force a good location + Get them involved. If you are an avid Instagrammer, like myself, then you know that those perfect brick walls and organized kitchen backgrounds are key. While those are nice, sometimes you start to feel overwhelmed when plopping your kiddo in front of a wall and telling them to stay still. One of the best things I've learned recently is to get my little involved with our photos. When he was a newborn, of course, he was anything but interested in taking photos, let alone knew what I was even doing. Within the past couple of weeks, Tad has become really interested in the photos I take. I am blaming it in Snapchat, but now he knows that when I bring my phone out, we may be taking a picture. Which brings me to the story behind these two photos. One is obviously better than the other, but I took the top one first. He immediately came running to my side to see the photo I took, then ran back to the location of the second photo and began to pose. While part of me says, "I have created a monster." I really haven't. Photography is a big part of my life, and it is a wonderful creative outlet that I want my son to experience. He's lucky enough to start it at a much sooner age than I did! And that means, location is important, but sometimes it doesn't have to be, especially when photographing little ones. The second photo isn't amazing, but I still love it because he chose that place to pose without screaming at me!
See the beauty in the little things. Sometimes I look at a photo and I see so many things that I would want to change. I look at the water marks and debris on the porch or the little piece of grass on Tad's shoe. I see his temporary tattoo that clashes with his sweet outfit. He's picking up the watering can, when I wish that it was positioned perfectly. But I know this is wrong. The porch is dirty because we were playing on it, his shoes are grass covered because he was running through the uncut lawn, and he loves that temporary tattoo. He's picking the watering can up to look at cricket that was hiding underneath. And I love that!!! And it's a great photo! When I used to take senior photographs, I was a master at Photoshopping imperfections well enough to make the photo look natural, and while I could do that now, I just don't have time. And I think that makes my style of photography more authentic. My tip to you is to look at the little things, like crickets and surprised faces. The crinkle in his bonnet from wear and the heat of the day wearing on him. It's those little things that count!
Take advantage of those unnoticed moments. When we went for our walk on this particular day, I didn't know that I was going to snap some of my favorite photos of my boy. I hadn't planned to take any photos at all; I just wanted to get to the post office and back without having to go through a tantrum or chase after him as he ran into the street (thankfully, none of these happened). Now that Tad is older, he has learned to slowly explore. While we were walking, me a bit ahead, turned to watch him, it became the perfect moment to snap. He was unaware of what I was doing, too busy discovering a new stick or watching a butterfly float near his nose. These are the best moments to capture! These are the candid photos that everyone is talking about!! You can capture such beauty when your little one forgets to remember that you have the camera. What's even better? iPhones take such decent photos now and are generally nearby. Those moments when you don't have your professional camera can be taken advantage of with the phone. I also find the phone nice so that I can still be a part of the moment with him. I usually frame the photo and then look away and keep snapping.
Hope these tips were refreshing to your photography and that you learned something new! Thanks for reading (: