I received my first camera for my 8th birthday and have been taking photographs ever since. You can find my work all over the Internet.
Most families buy their children's school pictures, take numerous snapshots on their cellphone cameras or digital cameras, and almost all of them will show smiling faces looking directly at the camera. While these pictures are nice, when the main focus of every photograph is your child's smiling face, you are not truly capturing your child's personality and spirit. The best memories are made when your photographs show your children being themselves.
Stop Saying, "Say Cheese!"
The best memory pictures of your children show them doing the little things that always make you smile. Is anything cuter than little ones holding hands and walking off together? Here are a few "walking away" ideas you can try. You can think of others based on what your child enjoys doing.
- Pulling a wagon with a teddy bear or other toys inside
- Two or more children holding hands as they walk off
- Little boy or girl in cut off jeans with a fishing rod over their shoulder
- A child walking away holding the hand of a grandparent
- A child walking with a dog by his or her side
Children love to play outside. Swinging, tossing a ball, jumping rope, playing in a pool of water, blowing bubbles, and other outside fun creates wonderful and cute memories. Watch your children playing and take your photographs when they are unaware of what you are doing so that actions and expressions will be natural. Other fun outside shots could include some of the following plus your own ideas.
- Playing basketball
- Learning to ride a bike
- Picking flowers
- Playing with a cat or dog
- Siblings playing together
- Playing in the rain
- Building a snowman
- A picnic lunch
- Planting or harvesting a garden
- Playing in the leaves
There are great opportunities for shooting photos inside when your children are busy with their activities. A large window in the area where you are taking photographs provides diffused lighting that reduces dark shadows. Shoot at a time of day when the sun is not shining directly in the window on your children.
There may be some inside shots when you want to have your children looking directly at the camera such as holding up a school paper, an award, a piece of artwork, or a favorite toy. You may get your child to look at you from an angle if they are making a craft, stirring up cookies, reading a book, or playing an instrument.
When shooting photos inside be sure the area is free of clutter. You won't be as happy if items turn up in your photo you didn't expect. Make sure there are no dishes, glasses, bags of chips, shoes and clothing or another person's arm or foot within the area of your picture.
Shoot Down, Up, and at Ground Level
Add another dimension to the photos of your children by shooting from a higher vantage point. Stand on a kitchen stool, on the stairs, or on a ladder. You can also get down on the ground or floor and shoot up for some adorable expressions. Lay down on the floor with your baby to get some precious "looking at you" images.
Mirror reflections can turn out super cute. If your little girl likes to stand in front of the mirror and fix her hair or put on some of Mom's makeup, capture her when she has the cutest expression on her face. Baby's faces are full of adorable expressions, especially up close. Zoom in on precious little rosebud lips, sleeping eyes, and sweet expressions.
Don't Forget Black and White
Black and white photography took a vacation when color was first introduced as people believed color was superior. Now, once again, black and white photography is recognized for the art form it is. Take some of your photos in black and white mode. If you have Photoshop, Corel Paint Shop Pro, Gimp, or another graphics program, you can convert color to black and white, while retaining the color photo.
Use your imagination and expand these tips for even more creative photo shoot ideas. When your children are older, they'll appreciate the extra effort you put into their photographs. Start watching for those special childhood moments you want to remember and share.
Judith Hayes (author) from Maine and Florida on April 16, 2019:
Being a grandparent is such a great experience and so much fun. I hope you find these tips helpful and create some fun photographs. Be sure you are in some of the photos too to make the memories special for your grandchildren.
Liz Westwood from UK on April 15, 2019:
As a grandparent, I have read your article with great interest. It is easier to take photos these days, but often we end up with a lot of not so good ones. At least we are no longer wasting film and developing costs.
Judith Hayes (author) from Maine and Florida on April 15, 2019:
I learned a lot from having five children and 16 grandchildren. I'm sure you will come up with additional ideas of your own too. :)
Cristina Cakes from Virginia on April 15, 2019:
Great tips! I am always looking for ways to take better pictures of my kids. I can't stand the overpriced school photos!