Thursday, June 26, 2014

Taking the Perfect Instagram of Your Kids

As all parents know, our squirmy and active kids are hard to capture on camera. I always want to catch the adorable face Leela has just made, or Jiya's beautiful smile, but I can hardly get to it in time before they are on to the next activity, which is often less than a Kodak moment.

Aside from having professional pictures taken from time to time, I love taking and posting frequent pictures of my kids on instagram. It's the perfect medium to share these great shots with my close friends and family, as I like to keep  my instagram circle pretty limited. I also love looking back on these to see how much they have grown and changed!

Here are some of my best tips to get that perfect shot.

1. Back up... a lot. Taking a photo of your toddler at the beach won't be memorable unless you can also capture the sand, the stillness of the ocean, the way the sky is that evening... so don't angle for the face only. Back up and get the whole scene.

2. ...or Get Closer. Especially for babies. Nothing captures their soft skin, innocent faces, darling sleepy little eyes, like a close up.

3. Shoot from a Different Angle. Get on your knee, lie down on your chest, or stand above them and snap from above for a fun and interesting take on playtime. This is the kind of picture that will stand out.

4. Find the Light. Natural light is a blessing to all photos, but the instagram filters make it so fun to play around with sunlight. Get the sunlight in the pic for a timeless, magical feel.

5. Try it in Black & White. Chances are you will achieve that ethereal feeling, eliminate lighting issues and pack a real punch if you choose the "willow" or "inkwell" feature. I'm a firm believer that black & white is usually better... and this is always a great fix for photos that are dark or over-exposed.

6. Take pics of Action, not poses. Even though it's hard to resist taking a cute picture when your little girl is dressed up and smiling, my favorite shots are of my kids in the swings, or running around, or splashing in the water. Let the kids be kids, and try to document their childhood, not just their faces.

6. Sideline the child. While its easy and tempting to center your child in the shot, if you frame the picture slightly differently, you'll be surprised at how much more of the scene you can include. And it will make the picture a lot more interesting to look at.

7. Make them Happy. If your child is bad about smiling for pics, hand them a balloon or lollipop just before you whip out your camera. Works like a charm!

Do you have anything to add? I'd love to hear any of your tips or experiences with photographing your kids!

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