I met Nell at a mom’s group event where she discussed “5 tips for taking photos of your children.” I thought her tips were so helpful I invited her to share them here!
This guest post is written by Nell Aburto, a professional photographer. Nell lives in the Twin Cities with her family and owns Pink Parasol Photography. She does beautiful photography of children, families, grads, and more.
Hi, my name is Nell Aburto, and I own Pink Parasol Photography, which is a boutique photography business serving the Twin Cities area.
What is a “boutique” studio? I am full-service, which means I offer my clients a lot of love, attention, and expertise. I am with them throughout the entire photography process from the in-home consultation to when I deliver their beautiful products in pretty packaging. I have been a portrait photographer for the past 11 years, and love providing families with custom art for their home.
I want to share five simple tips that you can use to easily improve the pictures you take of your own children. Of course there are many more, but this is a good place start.
1. Lighting is everything
2. Find a good location
3. Change up the angles
4. Pose naturally
5. Print Print Print!
How can these suggestions help you?
1. Lighting is everything.
Lighting is the most important part of the photo-taking process. I typically shoot a couple of hours before sunset when the light is dramatic, but not harsh. I often shoot into the sun so I can get that lovely halo lighting around my subject. The time to avoid is around noon when the sun is high and makes people squinty or have dark shadows under their eyes and noses. If you must photograph someone at this time, look for a large area of shade, and make sure no sun spots are peeking through any trees, which causes dappled / uneven lighting on the person.
2. Find a good location.
The best location is someplace beautiful or meaningful to you. I love photographing children in grassy fields or in front of old storefronts. Be careful of too much green as it reflects onto skin and green just isn’t a good look for anyone. You can find great locations by just keeping your eyes open and looking around as you drive through your own city (be safe). Make sure there are not “mergers” in your photographs. We’ve all seen pictures of people with light posts or trees coming out their head, so always check the background before you shoot the picture. This is true for indoors as well. My mother is notorious for moving everything off the tables when she’d take pictures at birthday parties or at restaurants. Just remove all the excess. Mom is always right.
3. Change up the angles.
Sometimes I like a little camera tilt because angles make the photograph more visually interesting. Get close up to your subject, tilt the camera ever so slightly so their face is somewhat on the diagonal. Other angles also make for a unique picture: get down to the level of your child, move around them, photograph their cute little hands or feet, or photograph them just off center.
4. Pose naturally.
Everyone looks better with a natural expression. When I photograph children, they don’t always have to be looking right at me with the perfect camera-ready smile. I find that in some of my most beautiful portraits, the child is not showing a big toothy grin at all. Get in close, and fill the frame with their face.
I am of the opinion that everything looks better close-up. No need to have full body shots for every picture so experiment tightening up your composition.
If you have more than one child or are photographing groups, have them standing or sitting as close to one another as possible, even with their arms thrown around each other or with their heads touching. Angle everyone in towards the center. Let’s face it, we all look better from an angle.
5. Print Print Print!
There is nothing worse than a crashed computer and suddenly all the pictures of your little darlings are gone. Always always ALWAYS print your photos. While it is wonderful to back up digital files, they are not serving their purpose sitting on a CD or a computer. Take the time to make a lovely album yourself or better yet, have a professional photographer make one for you. It is worth the investment, and will always be of higher quality than the drugstore or bargain online lab version. Photography is art, so consider ways to decorate your home with your portraits. A large framed canvas makes an impact in a room, and it’s a meaningful piece for your family. I guarantee you will get more compliments on a gorgeous piece of wall art of your children than any other item in your home.
I hope this information will be helpful as you photograph your children and define your own photography style. Happy shooting!!