It can be easy to focus on one thing in your photograph and forget about the rest of the scene. I do this all the time. I will take several pictures and realize all I got were close up images of my kids faces. This isn’t bad, but it would be a much better picture of my life if I also took pictures of the whole scene. When you take close ups all the time it’s like you’re missing half the story.If you want to capture beautiful child photos, be intentional about capturing the big picture.
Actionable tips for capturing the big picture in your child photography
Look at the whole scene
Before you start shooting and several times between shots, look at the whole scene. Notice what’s around you and what might make your image more interesting. Get your eyes out of your lens for a little while and be purposeful about how our compose your image.
What’s the story, why does the location matter?
The location of your photograph can help you tell the story you are trying to tell. For example, when I go to someone’s house to do a lifestyle photo session, I am trying to capture the story of their life at home. I look around the scene for how to best capture this. In some images I might choose to focus on them snuggling close together, while in other images I might step back and get the backdrop of the fireplace with family pictures hanging on the wall. Think about your story and include photos of the bigger picture to help you tell the story.
Pay attention to composition
How you compose your image can make all the difference in how your photo looks. Look for elements that will draw your viewers eyes directly to your subject. Look for elements that create distractions and try to eliminate them. Knowing a few basic composition techniques will help you get great images every time. For tips on getting started with composition, read, “Photography Composition Tips You Should Know”.
Where do your eyes go? Where do you want them to go?
Like I said with composition above, it’s important to think about what the focus of your image is. Your job as the photographer is to draw the viewer’s eyes directly to the focal point. You can do this in many ways, but paying attention to the big picture is important. If there is a lot going on in your photo it will be hard to focus on one thing.
Look at different views
Look at your image with many different perspectives. This might mean moving yourself around until you see the scene the way you want to capture it. You can get higher or lower or just move yourself a few feet in any direction and the scene may look completely different. Finding multiple perspectives of the same scene provides opportunities to get the whole story.
Pay attention to aperture
Aperture is the term used to describe the amount of the opening in your lens. The aperture setting you choose will affect the amount of light that enters your lens as well as the depth of field. Having a wider aperture greatly decreases the depth of field keeping your focus point very limited. Having a smaller aperture will open your depth of field for greater focus on the foreground and background of your image. There is no right or wrong. It is all about how you want your image to look. You can learn more about aperture and how to use your camera’s settings manual to take full creative control in my free course, Manual Mode Made Simple.
Watch your frame
I don’t know how many times I’ve taken a photo I loved only to realize there was something I had to crop out at the end, such as a trash can. It’s easy to forget to look at the whole frame of your image and miss an object yo don’t want in your photo. Pay attention to the whole frame when you’re photographing the big picture so you don’t end up having to alter and crop your image afterwards.
There are so many strategies to getting great photos. The best thing to do is practice with a variety of techniques. Taking photos of the big picture will help you tell your story in a bigger way. When you’re on vacation, at the park, or just in your house, take photos that capture the whole scene. These images will bring you back to that time and place when you look at them later!
What to do now:
Before picking up your camera, look around. Whenever you’re out and about start noticing what’s around you. This will become natural the more you practice. If you notice yourself taking lots of close ups, zoom out a bit and get some wider shots. You may want to keep a smaller focal length lens on your camera for a while, like a 35 or 50mm.
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