Monday, November 26, 2012

Tips For Taking Kiddo Photos

Three years ago I started taking professional looking photographs of my own children for a few reasons really.  I knew I had a passion for it, and I knew it was something I had an eye for.  It was a creative outlet for me and in the long run it was going to save us some money doing it at home.  Plus I thought it would be so much fun to turn this into a business where I could take pictures for family members, friends, neighbors, word of mouth kind of thing and keep it affordable for everyone else as well. 

I was researching everything I could find to do the photos the way I felt most comfortable with doing them.  It turned out that I found out my style is very contemporary.  I'm fine with that.  I love natural smiles, natural moments, kids being themselves and most of all capturing a moment in time that I can look back on and go that's the part of my child I remember most.  That gleam in their eye and that little mischievous grin on their face.  I even like it when they don't smile.  In fact I encourage them sometimes to not smile during the photo shoot which almost always in turn gets them to smile and burst into giggly laughter.  I have learned tricks to make my photos work almost every time...almost.  Tricks that I will most definitely share with you in this post and future posts to come.

First let's start with equipment since that's really the essential part here in making professional looking photographs at home.  It helps to have a good quality camera.  I started practicing with my Sony.  I love window light.  Love it.  These first few pics of my girls were taken with my Sony camera.  They are standing looking out through the windows of our home.  I do not have my flash on and only used the outside light that streamed in through the window.  Take notice of the windows in your home and what time it is the light really shines through most vividly.  Natural light is my most favorite and best part is it's free!!  You can't beat that.

The equipment I use today is a Canon EOS Rebel T2i with a flash, lensGiottos tripod, trigger, battery charger (always have backup batteries always), Canon filter uv haze, sd cards, and a camera case.  The links I have provided here for you will take you to all the exact individual pieces of equipment that I currently use for my photography.  Other things I like to use is a white fluffy bath mat, poster board with white on one side and aluminum foil glued onto the other side for my reflectors, white foam board for my reflectors or background, and the tickle monster who only comes out for photo time otherwise kids aren't impressed one bit with Mr. Tickle Monster.  He must shine in his cameos and then be hidden away in the closet until next time.

Mr. Tickle Monster
and yes he is a feather duster with googly eyes.

The book that helped teach me so many of my tricks, and that I continue to look at to this day is called The Art of Children's Portrait Photography by Tamara Lackey.  She is wonderful!  She shares with you in this very insightful book her tips along with her own experiences as a child photographer.  Get this book if you are at all interested in taking pictures of your own children and or other people's children as well.  I found this book to be inspirational and helpful in finding the photographer inside of me.

Here are my most recent pictures of my son as a little pumpkin head.  I took these photos in my bedroom where I have an entire wall of just window.  Perfect for that natural light that I love plus I used my flash.  I set up a little festive fall pumpkin scene on my bed with a couple yards of white kona cotton, a white bath mat, large and small pumpkins, artificial fall leaves, and a super cute child's pumpkin hat I found on sale at Gymboree.  Always keep your eye out for cute kids stuff on sale that would one day look adorable for photos. 



If you have an assistant to help you that's even better.  For this photo shoot my six year old entertained my son with Mr. Tickle Monster.  Take as many pictures as you and child can stand. 

This little frowny face let me know that 
it was time to shut down the camera!

Photoshop is another topic of which I'd be happy to share in more detail in future posts.  But I will say that what we use is Adobe Photoshop CS5 for right now.  Our next step up is Adobe Photoshop CS6.  I am constantly on YouTube searching for tutorials for my designs and photography to learn even more about photoshop and all that you can do.  We like to keep it real.  Plastic painted faces do not appeal to us but to each his own.  Photoshop is certainly great to clean up images and get great special effects.

There will be more photography posts by me in the future because this is very much my passion, and I'm learning new things all of the time that I would love to share with you all.  You can follow me on Pinterest at  where I have a board called Kiddo Photos.  Here I search for fabulous photos that catch my eye that I would like to one day reenact with my own kids or other people's children.  I know that my photos will be different, and that's good I want that, but it does help me to find pictures that inspire me and give me ideas for portraits with my own family.

With that said good luck with your own adventures in photography and if you have any questions or comments about the information that I have shared in this post please contact me at  I'd be happy to hear from you!  Go have fun taking pictures of your little loved ones, and remember if it isn't fun then you are not doing something right.  The entire experience should just be fun for all including you! 

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