I’m guessing that if you enjoy photography, your kids are the focus of most of your photos. Am I right?
- Do you have trouble getting your photos to turn out how you want?
- Do they show the moment the way you want to remember it?
- Can you see your child’s personality shine through in each photograph?
If not, you’re not alone. These are the most common problems I hear from moms when I am doing photography workshops.
Let’s get to the bottom of this issue and figure out how to capture personality in your photographs so you have precious images to enjoy!
Capturing personality can be a challenge. I have a few tricks I use, when taking pictures of my own children or when I am doing a family photo session, that help me get the expressions I am looking for.
Use this list to help you capture personality in your photos
1. Take photos in between the moments
Some of the best expressions happen between shots. Don’t put your camera down as your children move from one position from another or as you move locations. Keep shooting and watch the natural interactions, relationships, and actions you can capture.
2. Make sure you all enjoy the process
If you are nagging your kids or getting frustrated, your photos will quickly turn for the worse. I was taking a photography course once and the instructor told us this story.
She had taken her daughter out for a sunset photoshoot and just couldn’t get the photo she wanted. She got irritated with her daughter and began to show her frustration which turned her daughter’s behavior sour. She left feeling angry at the whole situation and wasted evening. When she got home and told her husband the story, he said to her, “Do you even enjoy taking photos?”
The lesson in this story is that photography doesn’t have to come with pressure and discontent. If the moment isn’t working just how you had hoped, let it go and try again at a later time or day. Don’t force your kids to pose for countless photos every time you are out. Your kids will never want their photo taken if it is a stressful event so relax and try to remember why you want to take photos in the first place.
3. Let them be kids
Kids don’t naturally sit still or stay quiet. If your child likes to climb, then snap shots as they climb around on rocks or other objects in your location. Let them look for bugs, sit in trees, throw rocks in the water or whatever it is that will get you genuine character. If you are at your own home this can be much easier. They are in their element, just follow along and take pictures as they do their thing.
Join me in my free 5 day photo challenge, which will teach you how to use manual mode to capture stunning images.
4. Look for relationships
A lot of a child’s personality shines through when they are with someone they love. I get some of my best shots when my kids are playing together. Or when my daughter looks up at her daddy with her big brown eyes.
5. Get out a favorite toy or stuffed animal
First of all, you will love having images of your child’s favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or toy as they get older. Plus, a new life comes to your child when (s)he has this item and you will get to capture the personality that comes out with it. My son has a favorite dog that he has slept with since he was a baby. It has been patched and stitched several times and is almost completely different fabric than when it was new, but he loves it the same. Every once in a while I will ask him to bring out that dog and I will take a few pictures. His face lights up and every picture shows genuine compassion for this stuffed animal. These photos are a treasure for both me and him.
You may also want to read these photography tips:
- Buying a New Camera? 7 Questions to Ask Yourself
- Simple Photography Tips for Moms that will Transform your Photos
- 8 Photos of Your Kids You Just Can’t Miss
- 11 Photography Mistakes Moms Make when Photographing Their Kids and How to Fix Them
- How to Get Started with Your DSLR
6. Get them in their bed
This is a happy, comfortable place and can give you some great photos. Let them be silly, in their pjs, jumping, snuggling, reading a book, or whatever they do naturally. Capturing personality will be super easy in this environment!
7. Get movement
When you photograph your child doing something active, they have totally forgotten about you and your camera. This will give you the opportunity to take photos of their expressions without any interference. Take your child to the park and let the magic unfold!
8. Don’t force the image
Stay natural and allow your child to stay natural. Keeping the photo taking low key will allow for happier kids, a happier mom, and much more natural looking photos.
9. Have your camera out and ready
The more you have your camera out, the more your children will be used to it and the more likely you are to get your kids being themselves. Capturing personality is all about getting photos of your kids for who they are, doing what they do.
10. Don’t just take photos, document
This might be my favorite tip of all. Try not to think of photography as just taking photos, but rather documenting your life. If you change your mindset to this, you will start to take photos of everyday moments rather than just special events. Instead of posing your kids for photos you will look for opportunities to catch them doing something they love, like reading a book or playing with legos.
11. Talk to your kids as you are photographing
Ask them questions about what they like and don’t like. Engage them in conversation and use the little tidbits to learn a thing or two you can use. photograph the emotion on their face as they talk. Laugh at their jokes with them to get genuine smiles. Just showing an interest in your child will bring out their personality.
12. Get the expressions
Kids have the best expressions. They really don’t need words. You can learn so much about a kiddo from his expressions. Focus on the details of these expressions, like a furrowed brow, intense stare, crinkled eyes or noses, and more. You don’t always need to get a smile either. Sometimes a pout will turn out to be your favorite image.
One of the best things about a photograph is the ability to say so much without any words. Try to capture your children as authentically and organically as possible. With kids, formal photographs often look very posed. They don’t know how to “look” natural. Use the tips above to bring out the personality in your kids so you can get photos you will treasure!