Capturing Kids in Photos
December 5, 2012

Many families love to send photo cards during the holidays. If you’re anything like me, sometimes it comes down to the wire. (I have been known to send New Year’s greetings cards, instead of Christmas ones.)

If you haven’t yet chosen your photo, or you prefer to take an action shot---what could be cuter than kids looking for that perfect Christmas tree or building a snowman?----here are some tips to keep in mind from Maine-based photographer Michele Stapleton. Stapleton specializes in documentary photography and her work has appeared in everything from Family Fun to National Geographic Traveler.

  1. Many people think they need a bright sunny day for taking photos. Actually, a sunny day casts strong shadows. And kids squint. Instead, wait for an overcast day (or find a shady spot under trees on a sunny day). Plan for late afternoon, right before the sun sets, when the light is soft, the angle of the sun is low, and shadows are less defined.
  2. Look for a “clean” background, meaning nothing is going on in the background that will distract a viewer’s attention. When you’re picking a spot to set up a family portrait, take a minute or two to look at what is going on behind the people. You don’t want something in the background to take away from your photo. Also, watch out for telephone poles or trees that will look like they’re growing out of someone’s head!
  3. I'm a firm believer that Mom and Dad should be in some of the photos, too—if not for your holiday card, at least for the sake of creating a family history. When your kids get older, they will appreciate having some photos of you when you were younger. Bring a friend or relative along to help with the photo so you can get a few shots with the whole family.
  4. Shoot A LOT. With digital cameras, it costs nothing to delete shots that didn’t work. Don’t wait until the snowman is finished to go get your camera. Start shooting as soon as the kids start rolling up balls of snow. And take shots while they are decorating the snowman. Don’t stop when you take the posed photo with the finished snowman. Continue when they sit down on the front steps with their mugs of hot chocolate.
  5. Remember: The cold can zap your camera batteries. So, make sure the batteries (and any extras) are fully charged before you go out. Put the camera (and batteries) inside your jacket so your body heat can keep them toasty.

Do you have any other photo tricks or tips to share? We’d love to hear them!




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