With the advent of camera phones, we now constantly have a camera to hand. More photos are taken now than at any other time in our history. How do your family photos measure up? Here, Abi Moore, a professional family photographer based in Windsor, shares her top tips for taking the best photos.
Work your angles
One of the keys to a great photograph is the angle and framing. When taking photos of your kids, look at what else is included in the picture – if there is clutter or too much space around them, then lose it – get closer and focus on them.
Also consider your height in relation to your children. Often as adults, we tower over our children, yet we take photos from a standing position. Whilst this can sometimes give us an interesting perspective on their current tiny size, it can get a bit boring if all photos are taken at our height. Get low to their level and take photos at their eye level, you’ll get much more interesting photos!
Professional photography is all about light and how we use it – this can take years to master, but there are some simple tips on light for Mums and Dads looking to take great photos.
Avoid bright sunlight! When you’re in bright sunlight, you squint; and harsh sun means harsh shadows – neither of these is a good look! Move your children into the shade for a much better picture.
If you’re indoors, try not to use flash unless you really have to – again it’s a very harsh form of lighting that isn’t really flattering. By moving your children closer to a window you’ll have all the light you need without harsh flash.
They just don’t sit still!
One day your toddler will no longer be toddling, your thumb-sucker will stop sucking their thumb, and your 6-year-old that loves Lego will outgrow it (probably!).
Although, I realise that getting a family photo of everyone smiling at the camera is like the holy grail, don’t forget to take time to capture the memories of everyday life.
If you’re still keen to get that photo of them sitting still, take them somewhere they’re interested in sitting, for example popping them in a swing in the park. Or make it a game – see who can sit still for the count of five – first one to move is out!
Failing that, call in the professionals – we are well practised at getting children to sit and smile without saying the dreaded ‘cheese’!
Put yourself in the picture
Take a look at the photos on your phone and around your home. How many of the photos include you in them with your children? If you don’t have a photo of you with your kids taken in the last three months, then I challenge to do something about it today – ask a friend or your partner to take a photo, or take a quick selfie!
When they’re older, your kids will want to see pictures of you – I love looking at the photos of my parents with me in the early eighties (despite the terrible perms and patterned wallpaper!).
Mums and dads often ask me how to look their best in photos. My first response is that your kids love you and will love what you look like even if that’s no make-up or carrying a little baby weight.
I do realise that we all want to look like the best version of ourselves, so my top tips are:
- Follow my lighting tips above – shade and window light are much more flattering than direct sun and flash (which will highlight even the tiniest of wrinkles).
- Remember good posture, stand up straight and relax your shoulders. Turn your body to a 45 degree angle to the camera – this is the most slimming angle.
- If we hate having our photo taken, our instinct is to lean back when someone points a camera in our direction – don’t do it! Leaning in towards the camera gets perspective to work in our favour (bums and tums are further away from the camera and therefore look smaller). It also means that you are pushing your chin forward slightly so reducing the chance of a double-chin.
Back up your photos! Print your photos!
The downside of camera phones is that our photos usually languish in our phone memory, not getting printed and often becoming irretrievable when a phone dies or is lost. I recommend that ideally you should save your photos in three places, including on a home computer and in cloud storage.
I strongly believe that images deserve to be printed (as such all my photography packages include prints as well as digital images). It’s known to improve a child’s self-esteem when they see photos of themselves around the home.
I have a canvas gallery on my stairs with one image of my sons taken every 12-18 months. You could pick a favourite image and enlarge it, or print a coffee table photo book of your favourite images from each year.
Whatever you choose, take photos, make sure you’re in them, back them up and print them!
Abi Moore has been a professional photographer for nine years. specialising in relaxed and natural family portraits.
Based in Windsor, Abi work across Berkshire.
She offers a choice of studio portraits or outdoor photos, as well as being a qualified newborn photographer.
Find out more at www.photographybyabimoore.com.