Taking photographs of our children is not just a fun activity. It helps us preserve memories, and share with our friends and families what is happening with our children’s lives. All too often unfortunately we make the photography of our children a boring exercise. This results in photos which are not inspiring, and not particularly memorable.
Let’s be honest. Grandma loves our photos of her grandchildren no matter how Plain Jane they are. And so will we when we dig them out several years later. Nostalgia and memories are far more important than art when it comes to our children.
What we want to do is make some “Wow!” photos of our kids right now. Something we can hang on our wall and inspire conversation with our guests. In this article we will show you a few tricks for making photos of kids a bit more exciting and abstract.
The Wild Angle
Photo by Dan Padavona
The best way to see life from a different perspective is to literally change angles. One of my favorite ways to do this is to shoot from very high or very low. Doing so is a great way to inject life into a photograph.
Extreme angles make photos more dynamic. For instance our example photo of a child in a swimming pool. When I look at this photo, I feel like I am on a diving board getting ready to jump in with him. Dynamic photos such as this make us active participants, and continuously draw our attention back toward the image.
Want some more ideas? How about shooting from the ground up, making our children appear as giants. Maybe they are searching for bugs or flowers. From our angle, it appears as if we are what the children are searching for.
Photo by Dan Padavona
Silhouette photography inspires a tremendous amount of active participation. Silhouettes require us to interpret. They invoke strong emotions, many of which are injected by our own thoughts.
Rendering our children as silhouettes can be tricky however. We need to know how to properly expose the shot to get it right. The upside is that our successful photos will be some our best material.
To render our children as a silhouette, we need to utilize back lighting. This is a lighting methodology where light is coming from behind the children toward the camera.
The most common method is to utilize a sunrise or sunset, when the sun is very low on the horizon. Put the camera in manual mode and expose for the area of the sky just to the side of the sun. The sun will be slightly overexposed, but that is fine. We want the overall sky to be properly exposed.
Make certain we are not reflecting any light back toward the children, so they will remain underexposed. Focus the camera on the children, using an aperture of f11 or higher to keep a large depth of field. If you choose a proper exposure and focused on the children, they will be rendered as a crisp silhouette against a beautiful sunset.
You can also move the children directly in front of the sun to create a halo of light around their silhouette.
You don’t have to use a sunset. A great action silhouette is our example photo of kids splashing in the water. The back lit scene is exposed for the background. In this case the background is purposely overexposed to turn the sky white, and the entire scene black and white. This photo loudly screams, “Summer Fun!”
Taking photos of our children should be an opportunity to match their imaginations with our own creativity. Have fun with your photography, and create memorable photos which will deliver a “Wow!” factor to anyone who views them.