I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful summer.
The summer holidays are a great opportunity to take photographs of your kids, family and friends and I would like to share with you a few tips, techniques and ideas on how to entertain the kids while capturing some fun and memorable images which you can enjoy for years to come.
Firstly it’s all about having FUN and capturing that moment as it happens so whether you are using a smartphone, a compact camera or a SLR keep your camera handy at all times.
Kids love doing action shots. Ask them to stand in a row, hold hands and run towards you looking up at you on “GO” and then shout “READY, STEADY, GO”.
Jumping shots are great fun too, even including the Grandparents!
Skidding down slides, running through sprinklers, watering the plants and chasing and catching bubbles are favourites activities with younger children and a great way to spend many hours of happy fun.
Giving children something to do, for example picking or sniffing flowers make great images, and have become my signature style.
Children sometimes moan and groan about going on walks but turning a walk into a treasure hunt can become a lot more entertaining as they collect bits and bobs on the way. Their found objects can be made into a treasure map and it’s a wonderful way of spending a rainy afternoon.
Perhaps you have sporty boys like me who enjoy hours of playing football, cricket and bat and ball, even surfing. Think of incorporating a big sky or their reflection in the puddles if possible.
Just capturing the kids playing at home doing what they love best, in the case of my boys being on the computer or xbox, cooking or drawing is full of possibility too…
… or with their favourite cuddly toy can create wonderful memories too!
PORTRAIT & GROUP SHOTS
One of the best ways I find to take a group shot of kids is to give them something to do, for example walking towards or away from me. Occasionally someone may have a different idea to the rest of the group and escape from the gang!
Asking the kids to either all stand on a swing or sit on a rocking horse, for example, is a great way of stopping them from straying and running off in another direction!
Putting the kids on your shoulders or swinging them up in the air can create a wonderful connection between parent and child
Everyone lying on the ground is another great group or individual shot and you can also begin to incorporate some interesting textured backgrounds too!
Begin to start thinking about backgrounds. These can be textured, for example a wonderful old wooden barn door; or colourful, a meadow or flowerbed; or perhaps a family group captured in the sea.
Be silly and fool around with your subject as this helps to create a range of different expressions and a variety of images!
Don’t forget about you and include a selfie! Balance your camera on a wall or tripod and put it on self timer, run back to the group in time to be in the shot too! Here is one of my favourite family group shots.
and a staircase is a great place for a large group shot as hopefully you will be able to fit everyone in.
Photography is all about the LIGHT and I shall go into this in much greater depth in future blogs. I would, however, like to encourage you to start looking at LIGHT!
Early morning and sunset are magical times to take photographs. The light is not only gorgeous at this time of day but you will find your subject will be able to look into the sunlight without squinting! During the rest of the day I would suggest, if possible, for you to be shooting directly into the sunlight so that the sun is behind your subject, this helps to avoid squinty eyes and nasty shadows falling across their face (technically it is best to over expose a little). Shooting this way also creates a beautiful glow around the subject and even light across their face.
You can also create dramatic silhouettes by shooting into the light, start to play and experiment and see what you get!
A shady spot, however, is ideal in harsh light conditions and I always look for a tree to place my subject under so that the light will be easier to control and more even.
Remember it’s all about having FUN! Enjoy snapping away and have a great rest of the summer, and don’t forget to capture that ice cream shot!