It’s that time of year again, where, just when you feel like it’s warming up WHAM! – blizzard. However, soon spring will arrive, and with it the ability to plan some fun photo sessions to capture your kid’s playful side while enjoying all the lovely scenes that spring has to offer. Here are some suggestions when you’re photographing kids in springtime:
Before the sun starts coming up too early, plan some morning photography sessions. Dawn light is much softer than noon light, so you don’t have to worry about harsh shadows under the eyes for a much more natural photo. However, if it’s still chilly out you can postpone until warmer afternoons closer to sunset – luckily it still comes early enough that you can have the kids home for their normal bedtimes. Neither of these work? Then you’ll need to get creative and find a few places where you can photograph your kids without the sun beating down, such as inside a gazebo or with a wall blocking out direct light.
Another early-morning photo idea is to go out for breakfast. Find a café with outdoor seating so your kids can enjoy the morning light and some muffins, while you snap away some fun candid shots and feed your caffeine addiction. Don’t forget the first ice cream of the season too – bright colors and happy kids make for great kids portrait photography. Additionally, shooting your kids in more of a lifestyle photography format helps to communicate more of a story, rather than just focusing on their faces you get more of a sense of who they are and what they like to do.
Once it warms up enough, consider heading over to the water part (or turn on a sprinkler in the front yard) – you’ll have the opportunity to capture some fun action shots and your kids will have a blast. A telephoto lens will work best for this type of photography (so you don’t get wet), as well as a higher shutter speed to avoid motion blur. It might take some practice to work with action shots and focus, but with a little practice you’ll have no trouble capturing crisp photos with happy faces.
Locate a field of wildflowers to create gorgeous, professional-grade children’s portrait. Again, very early or late in the day is best for soft light and to avoid shadows. If this isn’t an option, try to find a shady location for your child to sit, or have them wear a hat to even out shadows on their faces. If you are lucky enough to get a warm, overcast day this is the perfect time for outdoor photography in the spring, as the clouds will cut down on shadows while giving you a ton of natural light to work with. The same goes for photography at the park or beach – cloudy overcast is a good thing!
Bonus Tip: Pack a few props to help add interest to your images. Some suggestions include parasols, brightly-colored balls, scarves, teddy bears, etc.
If you haven’t learn to get off auto mode (or ‘portrait’ or ‘action’ for that matter), now’s the time. By taking control of your camera settings you will have more creative control over your camera, and as a result you will end up with images that more closely reflect what you have in mind. If you need help, look for my Photo Basics series (found in the Photography Tips and Tricks section), which covers everything from camera settings to composition rules to help you create incredible, lasting images of your children.
Alternatively, taking a class is a great way to quickly get the edge when photographing kids. Online courses abound, but in-person workshops can certainly provide an advantage – by putting you in a real situation with real subjects. Treat yourself!