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Looking for ideas for Children’s photo shoot? There are so many things you can organize at home or in the garden. Trish is a family photographer and shares her 10 tips with us so you can do your own children’s photo shoot at home.
You want to take beautiful photos of your children yourself, but don’t know where to start? I can understand that!
Children’s photography can be a very nice challenge, especially when it’s no longer newborns.
You’d rather romp around and explore the world than stand still for the camera.
And smiling at the touch of a button is almost impossible, especially for babies and toddlers.
The solution: You have to adapt to them.
Just create situations that children enjoy. This not only gives you photos with laughing faces, but also brings additional elements into the picture that make it special.
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Ideas for creative Children’s photo shoot
At the very beginning of my independence, I was pretty much on the hose, how I best get children to take part in shootings.
Over time, I developed and implemented more and more ideas.
And it’s actually quite easy, because children are really excited about the simplest things in the world.
Here I show you some ideas, which I implement myself in my family and children’s shoots.
1 children taking pictures under the blanket
Sounds difficult, but it isn’t. Toddlers love to play under the blanket. With this you hit two flies with one stone: laughing faces and a very special image idea!
You simply throw the blanket over their heads, pull it up again after a few seconds without warning and snap it off at the same time. This has the perfect surprise effect.
Alternatively, you can also crawl under the blanket and take the photos right here.
But then it’s worth a lighter, thin blanket or a bed sheet, so you have enough light to take pictures underneath.
If you’re still near a window that throws light on the ceiling, you’ll make it even easier for your camera.
Give the kids a flashlight in their hand. This conjures up great lighting effects on their faces!
Another alternative: to build a cave out of chairs and blankets. This gives you more leeway under the ceiling. Again, the closer the window and the brighter the ceiling, the better!
2 family photos while jumping on the bed
You can get really action-packed children’s photos when the kids are allowed to jump on the bed.
Caution: If there are several children, it is best to spread a few pillows on the floor so that no one can get hurt.
If you kneel next to the bed and take pictures of them jumping from below, the photos become even more unusual. But dare to take other positions as well. There are no limits to creativity!
My tip: You can also take an adult on the picture throwing a child on the bed. If you kneel on the floor on the other side of the bed, the child is flying towards you and you’re looking at it, you’ve got a great action photo!
3 children taking pictures while baking
When it comes to playing around with food, no child can resist.
Just take flour and baking powder and bake a cake. Children love to knead the dough and the ingredients. They are fully focused on the project, so you can photograph them in peace.
Go quietly closer, change the perspective several times or sometimes take bowls and ingredients in the foreground and focus on the child. This gives a nice picture design.
4 run towards the camera
If you have multiple children who are at least three years old, you can also host races. So according to the motto “Whois first at the camera, has won”. Children always do that!
My tip: Put the kids at the invisible start line in a row and take pictures now. They will seldom stand side by side as beautifully and attentively as they did before a start. In this way you can get them all sharp on the picture even with a big aperture.
Another tip: As they run towards you, snap as often as possible. If your camera allows you to use the serial image function.
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5 take candles into the picture
These photos are of course great for the Christmas season, but also at other seasons you can creatively take candles into the picture.
Candles always have a special attraction in children. They look fascinated at the flame and the flame conjures a warm, soft light on their faces at the same time. And they keep quiet long enough. The best conditions for a beautiful picture!
My tip: Take pictures with a very short shutter speed, then you have a beautiful dark background and only the faces illuminated by the candle are visible.
6 Children’s photo shoot with soap bubbles
Whether babies, toddlers or school children: soap bubbles always go. They not only spread a good atmosphere among the kids, they also make themselves as pretty elements in the image design.
But because it is almost impossible to blow soap bubbles and take photos at the same time, it is worth buying a soap bubble machine. It’s available for around 20 euros at Amazon and always makes children feel good.
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So you can photograph them relaxed while the kids chase after the soap bubbles.
Note: It is best to work with manual focus here, otherwise the autofocus can focus on the soap bubbles when they swirl between the camera and the subject.
7 children’s photos with water elements
Especially in summer, a photo shoot in the garden with water is worthwhile. This puts children of all ages in the best mood for beautiful photos.
Whether paddling pools, water hoses or water bombs – in combination with reflective sunlight and laughing children’s faces, you can take really nice photos with it.
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But here, too, the autofocus can be misfocused by water drops that are between the camera and the subject, so it prefers to sharpen manually.
8 children’s photo shoot between plants
Especially for family portraits, the most beautiful locations can be found in the fresh air. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a background with mountains and sunset, there are already some flowering bushes or plants in general.
Very nice photos come about when your subject is between different plants that are a little closer and a little more distant from the camera. So you can focus on the faces of your motifs and get different blurring of the plants around them.
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9 children’s photos on the bed
Throw a bright blanket over the bed, lay the children on it and take pictures from above. This may sound trivial and is not so easy, especially for young children, but it is worth it.
My tip: The fewer patterns the ceiling has, the better. And quietly crumpled the ceiling a bit, that brings a bit of movement to the picture.
This is how very beautiful sibling photos or mother-father-child photos are created.
Above all, it is also easier to take pictures with a large aperture, as the faces are so at the same height and it is less likely that one of the two will become less sharp.
10 photographing at the window
At the window you can take a lot of different photos. The window is always suitable as a location anyway, especially for indoor shootings. With natural light it is much easier to take beautiful photos!
Great are children’s photos through wet glass panes, for example when it rains and you photograph your children from outside through the window. And if it’s not raining right now, you can make the disc wet yourself.
Alternatively, you can also photograph your child as it is reflected in the window by standing next to it and taking pictures of the reflection in the window.
You also get great photos when you put your motifs in front of a window and take pictures in such a way that a silhouette is created. For example, if your child is just looking out the window and you’re photographing it from behind, or when mom, dad, grandpa or grandma are holding the baby in your arms.
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Now that you have a range of ideas on how to best photograph your family, I’ve got some tips on photo gearing and image design.
The right equipment for your children’s photo shoot
First of all: There is no real equipment to photograph children, because each photographer works according to his own taste. Still, there are some lenses and camera features that you can use to easily take better family photos.
Which cameras are most suitable for children’s photography?
You can take family photos with any camera, whether it’s a mirror-free system camera or a compact camera. With a system camera with interchangeable lenses, however, you simply have a lot more design freedom and can handle light more creatively.
I take pictures with a Nikon D750. This is a SLR camera with full-frame sensor. It is already a bit older and therefore now quite cheap with 1,300 euros for a professional camera. And although the camera is from 2014, it fully covers my needs as a family photographer.
You can also take beautiful family photos with much cheaper cameras. If you specifically want to buy a camera for family photos, then you should make sure that it has the following functions:
The serial image mode: When photographing children romping around, the serial image mode is an advantage, with which you can quickly photograph moving children in succession. This allows you to choose which image is the best.
A tilting and rotating monitor: With such a monitor you can take photos from above, for example when your children are lying on the bed. So you can hold the camera far above your head and still see what you’re shooting. The same applies, of course, to photos from below.
A quick autofocus: Children are fast and if a moment is perfect for a photo, it can be over in less than a second. A fast autofocus is therefore super important!
What lenses should you use for a children’s photo shoot?
Fixed focal lengths are definitely the most suitable for children’s photos. Fixed focal lengths are almost always very bright. You can take pictures even in poorer lighting conditions and through the open aperture you can play wonderfully with a fuzzy background.
I mainly use the Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Lens during my shootings. This is a very popular lens among family photographers.
With the 35 millimeter wide angle you can take wonderfully much with you on the picture and the high light intensity never lets me down in the partly dark Old Building Apartments.
To the Sigma 35mm F1,4 DG HSM Art for Nikon
To the Sigma 35mm F1,4 DG HSM Art for Sony
To the Sigma 35mm F1,4 DG HSM Art for Canon
I also always have the 50mm F 1.8 Nikkor lens, which is especially suitable for close-ups or portraits. With this, for example, you photograph well small baby fingers.
Tips for the right camera settings in children’s photography
Which is the right combination of ISO, shutter speed and aperture depends entirely on what kind of photos you want to take and what the lighting conditions are and of course your own taste!
However, I can still give you some rough guide values:
The shutter speed should never be longer than 1/80, as the photos quickly become blurred due to movements. Except, of course, you’re photographing a sleeping baby and can support your arm or use a tripod.
Find out what your camera’s noise is like. Especially indoors, you need higher ISO values so that your photos don’t get too dark. Cheaper cameras then rustle from ISO 800, professional cameras easily create ISO 1600 or more and then still take razor-sharp photos. This depends entirely on your sensor. Just try it out.
Always open the aperture as much as possible. F/1.4 or 1.8 is great for children’s portraits, because then the contours and the transitions between the front and background are nicely soft.
If terms such as aperture, shutter speed and ISO don’t tell you anything, take a look at our online photo course:
Use the daylight indoors
Not everyone has a garden and the weather doesn’t always play along. This is why it often happens that family photos are taken in the house.
But photographing indoors is always a bit more complicated than outside, as the camera has to cope with less light. So what to do?
Photograph as close to the window as possible and use the daylight! Natural light always conjures up a very special atmosphere in photos and is simply ideal for children’s and family photos. Personally, I almost never use lamps.
So it is best to slide the baby cot under the window for your photo session or put the toddler with his building blocks near the balcony door.
My tip: Natural light is not always the same. It is best to avoid the lunch hours, as the sunlight then creates hard shadows in the faces. Experiment also with translucent curtains that conjure up a beautiful, soft light!
Tips for image design in children’s photography
Finally, I’ll give you some important tips regarding the image design.
The right clothes for Children’s photo shoot
Photos become the most harmonious when the photographed persons wear matching shades. This sounds expensive in the preparation, but it is not at all.
For example, if a mother wears a grey top and holds a baby in a white bodysuit in her arm, that’s a great composition. Or two children, each wearing a purple and a blue dress, and so on.
Matching colors are simply more pleasant for the eye of the beholder.
What should not be seen on any shirt are logos and graphics. They distract from the essentials and just don’t do well on portraits at all.
The right background
Even if you want to focus on your motive, you should always keep an eye on the background.
When the background is filled with furniture and all sorts of details, such as a bookshelf full of different objects and colors, the chaos brings chaos into the picture.
The more tidy the background, the better the portrait becomes, because that’s how all the attention is drawn to your subject.
But the background should not be completely empty either: just a white wall would be boring.
If you want your photos to be taken in your apartment, just look around a bit beforehand and find the corners that are good for portraits. You can use them again and again!
Quietly decentralize your motive
Your subject does not always have to be central to the picture. On the contrary, on my photos the motifs are rarely centered!
This simply makes the picture more interesting.
It’s best to orient yourself to the classic grid lines, which you can display on many cameras in the viewfinder or on the display.
Important elements, such as a face, should lie on the intersections of the lines. This brings harmony into the picture.
These were my tips for creative children’s photography! Do you have any questions or more tips for great children’s photos? Then please leave me a comment!
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