Monday Tip: Getting the best pix of your kids

1. When you set aside time to do a mini photo session with your kids, it's best (as hard as it may be) to let them be the boss for that allocated amount of time. You really want them to feel free to be who they are, let the silliness happen—get into their minds of imagination and let them art direct!

2. If you want to use a prop, say a balloon or a teddy bear, it might be a good idea to introduce that a bit later in the game. In one recent session, I'd brought a three-year-old a red balloon as a peace offering, making the mistake of giving it to him at the start of our session—he ended up loving it so much he wouldn't let it go for the entire shoot! So, for variety's sake, it may be best to introduce props during the second half.

3. Don't make the camera a big deal! Do your best to pretend it's not even there. A lot of kids will get camera shy or pose when the camera is brought front and center. If you're like me, you want natural shots and the moment to genuinely shine through. Don't pose, creating the photographer/subject dynamic...Play as you would—hide and seek, dress-up, toy truck time, cuddles—and just take lots and lots of photos. Never stop! With children, the moment can happen in between the posed moments. Don't overthink or second guess your shots, just go with your gut! You know your child best.

4. If you’re not a professional photographer, don't bother trying to add lighting to your images—and for that matter, forget about the flash. Get outside, play, use the sunlight and shadows as your studio and the natural world (playground, park, ocean) as your props. If you are lucky enough to have a lot of natural light in your home, use it!  Turn off the florescent lights and flash. Keep your backgrounds clean and simple. The little ones should be all the beauty you need.

5. If possible, occasionally have someone else take the photograph—get in those pictures! Ask your spouse, partner, or friend to assist. You won't regret it.

Source: Elizabeth Street.

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