1. Don't center your subject in your images.
To make your photo more interesting, try putting your subjects to one side of the image.
2. What's that in the background?
Be aware of what is in the background of your image. Without meaning to, you may include something in your frame that takes the focus off the main subject in the image.
3. Chill out and PLAY.
I can't stress this enough. Want to get a candid photo? Joke. Play around. Too much posing can result in images that are forced and not authentic. I photograph a ton of kids and many times, the favorite photos are the candid ones. My favorite thing to do with my kids is just capture them in their everyday envoronment. Here, my oldest was washing the dog and we snapped a few fun ones.
4. Change your angle
The angle you are taking photos at can dramatically change what the image looks like. I typically shoot at eye level or higher. For little kids, I LOVE getting shots standing above them. It adds a childlike sweetness to the photo. Try laying down on the ground at your kids level or grab a chair and stand on it. Think outside the box!
5. Find the best light.
Walk around your home or yard and notice what the light is doing. Notice when the light is harsh and when is it soft and warm. Avoid areas that are dark and gloomy. Put your child in a window with great light or under a shade tree for a nice soft effect.
6. Raise your shutterspeed
Do your kids sit still for long? Mine sure don't. To freeze those busy bodies, bump your shutter speed up to at least 1/250 of a second. If you don't have a manual camera, select the sports mode.
7. Got a wiggly one? Grab a chair and give them a task.
If you have a little one that doesn't want to sit still, grab a stool or a chair and plop them on there. Now, don't be mean and just expect them to perform. Give them something to do. Have them color something or give them a small craft. A little trick I like use often with little ones is asking them to sit on a leaf (or something small and available) so it won't fly away. In the photo below, I asked my daughter to sit on a leaf and hold this special rock for me.
8. Step back and capture them doing their thing.
Send your kids off to play, back away and zoom in. Kids know when you are asking them to perform. Instead of trying to get them to do what you want, back away and capture them in their own world.
9. Bribe them.
When all else fails, bribe them. Don’t do it too often though. Consider it a last resort. If you REALLY REALLY want that one photo and nothing is working… time to bust out the bribe. Don’t go straight to candy though. If you go there, they are going to ask for it every time. Try something else like… “if you smile real nice, I’ll let you stay up a little later tonight” or “we will go to the park if you smile nice.”
Consider investing in a new digital SLR camera or upgrade your lens. Like those blurry backgrounds? That's a function of the camera, lens and experience. Already have a nice camera but don't know what type of lens to get? Check out my blog post on my favorite camera lenses.