I am definitely no expert at this but I’ve been asked to do a post like this for awhile and have learned some things here and there so hopefully this helps you!
1) Good Lighting This differs a little between outside and inside shooting but lately we’ve been inside A LOT (some redundant comment about the horrid weather in MN). I try to place Jack facing the light source (window or lamp) – in other words I stand between him and the light. Obviously I don’t want to put weird shadows on him so I try to position myself to the right or left of the light hitting his face. This is in an ideal situation and only if your little decides to keep facing the light which they won’t for long. But I’ve also found those captures from the back or his face turned to the side to see his cute little profile are lovely too. Either way you will be moving around a lot and will probably find that those shots that you are between him and the light turn out a lot better.
2) Fast shutter speed For those familiar with shutter speed, keep it fast! I’m talking 1/250 or faster. If your little never stops moving like mine, you need the fast shutter to make sure you don’t have blurry photos. To compensate for the fast shutter, make your aperture low and your ISO high. And for those of you not familiar with these terms go here, here and here! I was there not that long ago and this helped me a ton when I first started.
3) Distractions You need them. An extra person aka Daddy is the best but if you are left to your own devices, make sure you have their favorite things around. For Jack that includes our doggie Talullah, my iPhone, his blankie, several nuks, and any toy that plays music. So sometimes I hold Talullah in one hand and shoot with the other. I probably look utterly ridiculous and it’s actually quite hard to balance the camera, but if I get the shot, then that’s what matters! And honestly who cares if they have a “prop” in the photo. If their smiling face is in the photo, no one will notice the remote/tape roll/sippy cup anyway.
4) Keep them busy This is related to #3 but more what I mean here is have them DO an activity. Go to the park, to the zoo, on a walk, or just play with blocks. That way they will probably be less crabby about you always directing them to look your way and getting in their face with a giant eye.
5) Keep snapping! Most of my pictures look like the ones below. It’s typical that one or two out of 50 will actually turn out so just don’t give up. Your little is probably pretty determined so take some pointers from him/her. Yes your little may need a snack break from time to time but then get back at it, have fun and snap away!
And if you have questions, ask in the comments!
Hi Kelly! Thanks for posting this! So many good tips. I was wondering how you get the vintage wash effect that’s in the first photo and the one of Jack sitting on the floor in his diaper playing with the toy. Do you use actions?
How often do you use a prime lens, like the 50mm 1.8 or 1.4, when taking photos of Jack? When do you find it most useful?
Courtney – Yes I use photoshop actions! Specifically these: http://thepioneerwoman.com/photography/2010/03/actions-update-2/ For those photos I used a combination of Seventies and Colorized both at 30% opacity.
I have a 50mm 1.8 which I pretty much use all the time, especially with Jack. The only time I switch it is if I want to get more view field in the photo like for landscapes, a whole room shot, more than 3 people, etc. Hopefully that helps!
Thanks for the tips!
I struggle with the lighting, I usually have to turn my shutter speed down (makes it difficult with a moving target), my aperture will only go to 4.5 with my lens, and I have to turn my ISO way up and then my pics look grainy. I have only had my REBEL for less than a year and I know I have alot to learn! I usually use a 18-55mm lens that came with my camera, but also have a 55-250 mm lens but struggle even more with that one. Any tips or lens recommendations that may help me? Maybe I need one that goes to a lower aperture? I would love to be able to take pics like yours! I also hope to get photoshop…someday. 🙂
Hi Amanda! I definitely recommend getting a lens with a low aperture. I love my 50mm 1.8 and it allows me to get better quality photos at lower lighting situations. Plus that lens is really affordable compared to onther prime lenses. I hope that helps!
Thank you for these tips! I know I’ve said this many times on Instagram- but Jack is so adorable! I don’t have kids of my own yet, but I am a nanny to two little boys so this is helpful to me. At home I really struggle with lighting- our apartment doesn’t get much natural light at all! I still have a lot to learn though, and hopefully we’ll move to a place with better lighting someday.
All really good tips! I don’t have a little, well, a human one anyway, but one of my cats is little..and fast moving 🙂 Treats and toys work best with her, too. Have a great weekend, and hope the weather cheers up for you – we’re in swamp land over in the mitten, too 🙁
Aloha! Wow, of course i’d stumble onto your blog 5 minutes before I have to leave for a party. I can’t wait to get home and just browse. Your images are amazing, to say the least! I have one question – what camera/lens is your favorite? Especially for your shots with that incredibly delicious BOKEH. Thanks 🙂
Thank you Shanalel! My favorite lens is the 50mm 1.8 and I use it all the time. My camera is a Canon Rebel T1i, which has served me well!