My changing bag. It’s got nappies, wipes, a sippy cup, some snacks for the little one, oh and a camera. Don’t worry, it’s got its own little padded home within the bag so it doesn’t need to touch anything icky, but live in my changing bag it does.
What is the time of the day, when your baby is likely to be calm, relaxed, not move too much, and give you the best chance to photograph all their adorable features?
Does your child suffer from the Photographer’s Child Syndrom (PCS)? The symptoms include eye rolling or vocal objection at the sight of you picking up the camera or reluctantly playing along adopting less than sincere poses and the “cheese” variety smiles. Sounds familiar?
What we do as parents, photographers – matters. Documenting the little moments in our family lives, the quiet ordinary moments that make up the fabric of our lives – they matter. They are the ones that in years to come will bring the smile back on your face and floods of emotions.
Want to capture your kids under water? Not as hard as it looks! We explore equipment options, technique and composition – ready? Splash!
Capturing beautiful and simple images of your baby needn’t be hard and complicated and it doesn’t need to include lots of fussy props. This guide is non-technical and instead focuses on simple instructions you can follow with any camera.
Are you getting out there with your camera today?
If you want to make the most of the bluebells while they’re still in full bloom, here are our best tips for seriously beautiful photos:
An important caveat here : bluebells are an ancient wildflower but they can be vulnerable to habitat destruction so make sure that when you go exploring your local woods, you cause as little harm to them as possible = don’t pick, don’t trample, leave them as little disturbed as possible.
1. You want LOTS of them
Pick an area where the bluebells are nice and dense – the strength of a flower carpet is in the sheer volume of the photos – give yourself the best advantage by finding somewhere that has an abundance of flowers! Here is some help finding bluebells near you from the Woodland Trust. Our student Sarah Gannon used the abundance of flowers beautifully – by focusing on the logs in the front, she made the bluebells melt into background, creating a beautiful scene, rich in colour and with subtle texture.
2. Think big picture
Before you zoom in on the photos, consider the overall magical scene with the gorgeous flower carpet that’s painted in front of you and shoot that as well – make your photos high and wide, choose a wide angle focal length and picture the whole scene.
3. aaaand the detail
Once you’ve got those wide images, don’t forget to explore the delicate nature of the flowers by going closer in and creating tighter frames. Putting the wider shot and the detail together can give you a really beautiful collage.
4. Get your angles right
Most people shoot from where they stand, without varying the height of the angle and you can make such a difference by getting a bit lower to the ground, you know, where your subject is. Try shooting low, at around the flower height, get your kids to crouch down or sit down amongst the flowers to get the most of it. By shooting low, you allow yourself to develop a good depth in the photo, almost multiplying the volume of the flowers. Shooting from above and into the ground takes away the sense of flower abundance. In the photo below, the little girl is crouching among the flowers with some at the front being out of focus and some lovely and sharp ( for those of you comfortable around a camera, that’s playing with a shallow depth of field)
5. Bluebells as foreground
Don’t just think of the bluebells as a gorgeous background. Bringing them to the front and either keeping them sharp and your subjects blurry or just using them as a bit of a blurry background can bring a real 3D dimension to your images, lifting them from ordinary, to something a bit more special. Our student Valsa Shah kept the bluebells sharp in the foreground which adds lovely texture to the image. The silhouette of father and a daughter in the background has the perfect blur which means our eyes don’t go there first, focusing on the flowers instead, but at the same time it’s delicate enough to make it clear who they are.
Choose a shallow depth of field for creating varied texture in the images – ideally you want some flower details around your subject that further melt into the background into a blur of colour and light. You can create it either by picking a wide aperture ( the smallest possible number on your camera), getting close to your subject and zooming in ( ideally all 3 ). Don’t just think background when it comes to creating a texture in the photo – shooting through the flowers brings in a great candid dimension to the photos.
And above all – have fun and mess around with your kids – let them play and capture the joy! Get them to hide behind logs and flowers and examine the flowers from up close! Play pick-a-boo behind the flowers and encourage them to explore by themselves. When they have fun, beautiful photo opportunities will always follow – you just need to capture them!
Want to learn more of what your camera can do? Check out our photography courses, designed especially for Mums and Dads with a passion for photographing their families – just like you! Pick from face-to face, London based classes and Online workshops.
There is a certain trend amongst new photographer, especially when it comes to photographing children and that’s to get very very close to them. It’s partly because we like to see these details : the chubby little toes, the gorgeous eyelashes, the gummy smiles – you name it. It is also partly because we are always so physically close to our children – when they’re babies, they’re almost never further than an arm’s reach.
But for all the details, you can lose a lot of the story of your kids childhood, a lot of the space and details. So we say, challenge yourself to taking images with a bigger picture for a few days. No close-ups, no tight head and shoulders portraits – try to see them and the space they’re in. You might just love it!
Here are some examples to get you going
What to photograph when photographing babies? Because, well, they don’t do a lot, do they? How to capture something interesting when all they do is lie there / sleep and feed? HOLD THAT THOUGHT.
The most common – and easily fixable mistake all new photographers make when taking portraits.