Saturday, August 15, 2009

Say Milkshake!

We take a ton of pictures. If you've ever visited my other blog,, then you know that I post at least one picture (but usually many more than that!) of my twins every day, and have since they were born. Some turn out better than others, but there's always at least one that is 'blog worthy' per day.

When I came across an article on taking better pictures, my hunch was that almost everyone wants to be able to take better pictures of their kids. Thankfully, film cameras are a thing of the past, so there's no risk in experimenting with lighting, timing and angles. Try these out:

  • Snap a lot. Click click click like a crazy person. The more you take, the more you have to choose from.
  • Select the right setting. Don't be afraid of changing the setting on your camera from 'auto' to something else. If your camera has a 'sport' or 'child' mode, use it! (Look for an icon of a running man or a boy with a dog)
  • Say 'monkey' or 'milkshake.' Saying words that start with M will result in a more genuine smile... however, your kids don't have to be smiling to be adorable. Just try to catch them in the moment.
  • Capture their personality. Bring out the things that your child is interested in during this stage in life. My son Owen has been dragging around a little monkey puppet (affectionately named Monkey Boy) for over a month. He holds it in his fist as he crawls and as he holds on to the crib rails when he stands up after a nap. It would be so sad to realize one day that he's not carrying it around anymore and to not have a picture of him in action. You can't fake that kind of attachment.
  • Expand your horizon. Make sure their aren't shot-wreckers in the background of a photo - like construction cones, school buses or random body parts of other kids.
  • Go small. Don't forget to zoom in on the smallest parts of your babies - toes, fingers, eyelashes. Look for a flower icon, which will keep the photo from blurring. The problem is that you need a perfectly still subject, so try this one during sleeping hours.
  • Get a move on. What's cuter than playtime with daddy? When kids get to the age when they love being thrown in the air, snap a shot of them mid-air. Follow the movement with your camera, pausing when you snap. You can also aim the camera mid-air and just start snapping like crazy as he's approaching the spot. One of your shots should capture the perfect moment in space.
  • Aim for prime time. Shoot before 10am or after 4pm. Add the flash to soften features and fill shadows if you shoot at other times.
  • Tone it down. Turn on the red-eye setting if you're shooting at night.
  • Move in. Set up your shot and then take two giant steps forward. Most people shoot too far from the subject.
  • Consider all the angles. Change it up! Get down on the floor with your kids. Have fun with experimenting.

If your kids are old enough, ask them to collect their three favorite things and put on their favorite outfit. That will be a memory all by itself! Then have fun with it. Experiment with your camera's settings. This might be an especially fun activity on a rainy day, but who says you can only do it once?! Pick one (or two!) of these tips and post your best shot of the week on your blog. Then leave me a comment so I can check it out. I can't wait to see what you capture. Happy shooting!

Tips were adapted from the article "Picture Perfect" in the May 2009 issue of Parents magazine.