How to take better pictures of your kids (part two)

Last week, I gave you five tips you can use with any camera to help you start taking better pictures of your kids. Click here to read that post or you can watch a video recap.

Today, I've got five more tips to help you rock whatever camera you've got in your hands!

Stop posing.

Really. Stop. Instead of trying to create a pretty picture, try to just document life. Even in all its crazy, ordinary, messy, simple moments, there is abundant beauty! Here's the thing, you don't have to post or share every single picture you take with the whole wide world (aka the internet). Some, actually most, moments that I photograph at home are so precious and personal, I refuse to post them online. For the hundreds of images I share, there are at least twice as many that I don't. They are too sacred. But I have them. My children have them. And that is what matters to me. Stop posing & trying to make life look pretty. Just document what it is... on the mountain top and the valley, and millions of steps along each climb & descent. After describing the seasons of life, God tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that He hath made every thing beautiful. We are just witnesses to His beautiful story of grace & mercy unfolding. What an honor to be one of His storytellers!

Pay attention to the background.

Notice in the image below how my boys are hard to see? That's because they get lost in the shadows below the horizon. Obviously I cannot change the landscape behind them. By taking a documentary approach to how I photograph my children, I very rarely adjust the scene in front of my camera. 

I do, however, change my perspective. 

All I did was squat down lower and angle my camera upward. This created the illusion that the horizon was lower and allowed me to capture action-packed silhouettes as they jumped!

Give creative composition a go with tic-tac-toe.

Think about the grid you draw to play tic-tac-toe. Depending on your age, you might refer to this as the pound sign or hashtag symbol. Photographers refer to this as the rule-of-thirds. It implies that an image is more visually appealing when you place the subject of your photo at one of the four intersecting points on the grid. Here are a few examples of photos I took using the rule-of-thirds as a mental guide:

Create a sense of scale.

Back up. Honestly, I need to use this tip more often myself! While one of the tips last week was to get close, this tip seems like a contradiction. What I mean is to photograph your child near something to help give a sense of their size in this big world.

IMG_6529 Mom Photo Balm.jpg

Use your digital darkroom.

Edit your photos. Experiment. Have FUN with it! If you're on your iPhone, I personally use & highly recommend VSCO, Snapseed, and Pic-Tap-Go. If you're uploading your pictures to your computer, I think you'll enjoy the easy to use, web-based PicMonkey. If you're a little more serious about the creative control of your edits, or you want to quickly edit a bunch of photos, get Lightroom! I use Lightroom 5 every single day, with every single photo. (Photoshop is not as intuitive to me. I use it, but not often enough to offer much advice.) Adobe now offers Creative Cloud, an affordable, always up-to-date, subscription-based service for their products. (I should note that I am not affiliated with any of these companies or their products. This is just what I use and like, so I wanted to share with my friends.)

Each of us have our own styles & personal tastes. Some prefer chocolate, others vanilla or even strawberry. No flavor is the right flavor - it's just a matter of preference. I choose to convert 95% of my images to black-and-white. To me, it minimizes distractions and allows me to more accurately draw out the emotion of the moment I'm documenting. You might prefer vibrant pops of color, and that's great! It's all preference. While there are tried-and-true techniques, there's no right or wrong way to process your images. Editing your photos, your way, is simply completing the documentation process. It's the finishing touch, the cherry on top!

I hope you all have a safe and happy 4th of July! I'd love to see your pictures and hear how you celebrate. Let's talk more on Facebook and Instagram (here, too) this week!

Friendship is the finest balm,