Pictures are so important. At least, I think they are. I’m not great at organizing them or getting them in scrapbooks or anything like that, but I do back them up to the internet regularly… at this point it’s looking like it’ll be up to my kids to download them all and do something with them one day. Sorry, kids. But the important thing to me is that we have the pictures.
I do print some occasionally. Snapfish has an awesome deal where if you use their mobile app you get 100 free 4×6’s every month. You have to pay shipping, which comes out to about $9 if you order all 100. If you just outright buy the pictures, they come out to about $9, so it’s basically 50% off. So once every few months I’ll order my 100 prints off my phone, hang the best ones around our house, and throw the rest in a box. One day my kids will not only have the internet pictures to sort through, but a giant box of random 4×6’s. I hope they are grateful for all the effort I put into documenting their lives.
On a serious note, we all want good pictures of our kids. And while the occasional professional shoot is warranted, we also just want the ones we take around our homes to be good. Most of us know what a good photo looks like, but it’s hard to achieve it for whatever reason. So I’m going to share my top ways to make your photos pop. This post is about framing the shot, and my post next week will handle exposure, which is the harder/more complicated part.
To get these shots I grabbed my camera one day while my kids were playing outside, so my examples feature my son playing in the sand and my daughter devouring the last of a bag of stale chips she stole out of our trash can. I let her, because at least one of us may as well live our best lives.
Here are shots I took of them with no adjustments – standing at my regular height, not necessarily zooming in or out:
So my first tip is this: Get low or get high. Changing your perspective makes a huge difference in how the finished product looks.
Shooting high can get some cute results… you get a nice, clear shot of those awkward forehead curls. Or you may get a good view of all the chip crumbs your kid has strewn around.
If you can get high enough by standing right over them and shooting down, do that. If not, get a chair.
Alternatively, squat down and get to their eye-level, or even lower. There’s something so sweet about seeing the world from their point of view!
A change in perspective makes the pictures way more interesting, and you may even notice things you wouldn’t see from your height.
The next thing to do is zoom in or zoom out. Get in super close and focus on details that you don’t see from a “normal” distance.
Zooming way out is fun because you capture the surroundings of your child. I have tons of photos of my kids under this tree… one day they will look back and (I hope) remember the hours of fun we had in this shady spot. I’ll look at this picture and be like “oh yeah, that was the phase of life where I couldn’t park my van under the carport because they had to “swim” under there every day, and we always had a billion riding toys strewn around the driveway.”
Thirdly, don’t necessarily center them in the photo.
Sometimes intentionally putting your subject right in the middle of the picture is a good thing, but often moving them to the left or right of the frame is more interesting.
Finally, don’t be afraid to leave their faces out of the pictures. Again, take pictures of the details you don’t necessarily notice in a wide shot. Their chubby hands holding on to a toy… the sand plastered to their knees… or the shoes that are two sizes too big that they insist on wearing anyway.
Whatever you do, just take the pictures. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t perfect. You just want pictures to have!