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How to Take Great Photographs of Your Kids

Updated on September 18, 2014
My son Tyler and his friend, Celeste.
My son Tyler and his friend, Celeste.

Don't Be Afraid to Take Bad Photographs

Taking great photographs of your kids means taking bad photographs of your kids. Sure, there are definitely characteristics that you can learn about photography that will allow you to know how to take a great picture. There are definitely things to learn about composition that are important to understand. That all being said, taking great photographs of your kids means taking lots and lots of shots. Sure, anyone can take an average picture. If you want to get that truly great shot, don't be afraid to click that shutter as many times as you can. It'll pay off. Most of your photos will be deleted, but your overall portfolio will be the better for it.

Remember, bad photos happen. You should a lot more of this type of photo then you do of the perfectly composed one. Most of your photos will be throwaways.
Remember, bad photos happen. You should a lot more of this type of photo then you do of the perfectly composed one. Most of your photos will be throwaways.

What's Your Biggest Problems When Taking Pictures of Your Kids?

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  1. Take lots of pictures - Before the age of digital cameras, when I had one of those ancient things that actually required film, I was happy if I got a truly good or great photograph for every role of film I used. In fact, I was thrilled. A single great photo per role of film was pretty good. Often, I got nothing on a role of film (I'm talking something framable). However, now with digital cameras, you can take hundreds and sometimes thousands of pictures before you even have to download them. This has fundamentally changed how we take pictures.
  2. Don't make them pose - The best photos are the ones of kids that catch them unaware. Trying to get your kids to smile or positioning them in a certain way doesn't usually result in a great picture. Capturing them as they're enjoying life (or not) without them knowing you're snapping a photo is usually going to produce the best picture.
  3. Understand depth of field - If all you've ever owned is a simple point-and-shoot camera, you probably don't know much about depth of field. In simple terms, depth of field is the amount of space between you and the farthest visibile point in your picture that's in focus. Digital SLR's have the ability to change depth of field creating a subject that's in focus while everything else is fuzzy. Altering depth of field can make for some great pictures.
  4. Don't center your subject - Centered pictures are generally boring. Try putting your subject in one of four quadrants. Imagine a rectangle inside the average rectangular picture that's about half as big. The corners of that rectangle represent a point where you might want to locate your subject.

This is a good depth of field shot as the subject looks like he's hanging in space. The composition could use some work though.
This is a good depth of field shot as the subject looks like he's hanging in space. The composition could use some work though.
This works fine as a personal shot, but it's not a great picture. The centering of the subject makes it kind of boring.
This works fine as a personal shot, but it's not a great picture. The centering of the subject makes it kind of boring.
This photo is pretty good. There are lots of lines and the composition, with the subject to the left, is good. I was lucky he was wearing the red Elmo sweatshirt.
This photo is pretty good. There are lots of lines and the composition, with the subject to the left, is good. I was lucky he was wearing the red Elmo sweatshirt.

5. Consider the quality of your camera - Camera quality is a big deal. The average point-and-shoot camera can't take the same kind of picture as your average single lens reflex. If you want great pictures, you're going to have to spend some money on a more expensive camera and learn how to use it. The good news is that a decent SLR can be had for under $1000 easily.

How do you take your pictures?

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6. Use a photo editor vs. in camera - Another gigantic change taking pictures now as compared with the era of film cameras is the ability to change the picture using a photo editor. Not only can you correct things like red eye, you can reposition the subject for better overall compositional quality. If you're taking pictures without using a photo editor, even a basic one, you're missing the chance to improve drastically the quality of your photos.

This is the best photo here of the bunch and a great photo in my opinion. Good composition. The expression on his face is fantastic and even the grass detail is interesting.
This is the best photo here of the bunch and a great photo in my opinion. Good composition. The expression on his face is fantastic and even the grass detail is interesting.

Comments

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  • wonderful1 profile image

    Sheila Varga Szabo 

    5 years ago from Southern California

    Great tips-- and super cute kiddos! I miss my Canon Rebel camera (stolen in a burglary). Getting the right shot is always a rush. I'll be sure to try out your suggestions when I have enough money to buy another camera.

  • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

    PurvisBobbi44 

    5 years ago from Florida

    Hi,

    Thanks for all those great tips and I will try to remember them the photo outing I go on. I love to take candid shots of any living creature in or out of their environment.

    Thanks for writing this hub it is very useful.

    Bobbi Purvis

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