Time passes so quickly and in a blink of an eye those little angels with messy hair and button noses are all about the hair gel and makeup and getting ready to leave the nest. You’ll always have your memories of those innocent days when all was carefree and magical, but even better if you have the photos to go with it. I am sharing my tips on how to capture those memories in a way that will be just as precious and rose-tinted as you remember it.
Like everyone else, I started off with an automatic camera that you just point and press, I moved up to an entry level DSLR so that I could take better photos and eventually my husband splashed out and bought me the Canon 5d MKIII. I was over the moon, but if truth be told it was a little daunting at first. Many hours later and a lot of google time I got to grips with it and began creating what I could with a basic 50mm lens.
I then bought a 90mm macro lens because I thought it would be fun to try out a new genre. It didn’t excite me and I went back to what I loved. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the budget to go out and replace that macro lens with a fancy portrait lens, so I made do with what I had until such time I could upgrade.
I’ve moved on quite a bit since then but I still use that 90mm macro lens. It encompasses everything I want from a portrait shoot. It’s sharp, it’s smooth and it renders really great bokeh. The sky is the limit to what you want to spend on a lens but if your budget doesn’t reach the sky then all you need is just a bit of imagination.
I look for romantic, vintage or countryside places. Modern architecture is fine in its own right but for timeless portraits, you need softness and a bit of nature. It doesn’t have to be a well-tended park or landscaped grounds, an overgrown field is great. There’s something magical about little children looking for bugs or butterflies in long grass.
I’m not a morning person so you won’t catch me out catching a sunrise but thankfully there is always a sunset. Golden hour does offer the best and most beautiful light for portraits. It is soft and warm and perfectly complements skin tones. You can shoot with the sun behind you for deep warm tones or you can shoot with the sun in front of you for that wonderful rim light or backlight. Be careful to keep the sun just out of the frame so that you don’t get a lens flare. I occasionally use a reflector to bounce light back onto the face if I have someone to help but I am usually alone with my own children so it’s not a necessity.
You don’t have to stick just to that golden hour though, we have a lot of rain in wales so many shoots are done on cloudy days, but try to avoid midday sunshine as that will create harsh shadows on the face.
Clothing, Props and Shooting
I try not to pose children, I prefer them to do what comes naturally. My own children are well practiced but for client’s children, I let them get used to me first. I show them the camera and some of the pictures of themselves and let them pull as many funny faces they want to so they can have a bit of fun before the serious stuff! It doesn’t usually take long before they become comfortable and relax. Let little ones explore, blow bubbles for them to catch and follow them around and if your knees can take it, get down to their level. It creates a much better perspective.
CLOTHING AND PROPS
Clothing is very important, it can make or break a picture. For boys, almost anything goes really as long as it’s not brightly colored or has characters or vehicles on them. For girls, well there is just such an array of beautiful dresses available I guess I’m lucky I have boys or I would spend all my money on them! Muted colours work better than the brighter colours so they don’t jar against the background.
Toys and props are good as long as they fit with the theme. You wouldn’t want a brightly coloured Disney character if you’re trying to achieve a classic vintage atmosphere to your photo.
Tips by Lynne Williams
Thank you for reading my tips on capturing those special moments with your children, I hope that they have been helpful to you. It just takes time and patience. Babies will be grumpy if they are hungry so let them feed first and toddlers are always up for sweets so I keep a secret stash always. If you don’t get what you want then try again the next day or the day after. Relax, practice and have fun.