With summer comes vacations, trips, and relaxed time in the backyard, all of which I'd like to capture on film - hopefully with my kids' eyes open. Here are ten pro tips to help capture your favorite moments. By Joslyn Gray, REDBOOK
pictureWork on their schedule and turf. Schedule your photos around the time that is best for your kids, be sure they are fed and rested, and find a place where they feel comfortable, like their favorite playground or a familiar beach, says Sherry Sutton, who photographs clients in the greater New York City area. Don't rule out taking photos at home; this photo was taken in the family's own backyard.
Get down on their level.
Too often we take the picture from our height and only see their little heads, photographer Karen Cooley says. Get on your knees or lie down on your stomach if you have to, then start snapping away.
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Hold the cheese, please.
Let your kids be themselves, says Sherry, and forget about telling them to pose unnaturally and say "cheese." The best photos of kids are often when they are free to do their own thing: playing with blocks, running with sprinkler, or reading a book, for example. These un-posed photos can really let your child's growing personality shine through.
Get one shot of all your kids.
On the other hand, sometimes you're looking for a group shot, which means you need all your kids in one place. Sherry recommends asking older kids for advice on where everyone should sit. You can always move them around later, but giving them some control makes them feel like a part of the process. Once everyone's in place, put your camera on "continuous release" mode and don't be afraid to take dozens of photos to increase your odds of getting a good shot. Try this pro tip to avoid blinking: Ask everyone to close their eyes and open them on three. Start shooting just as you say "three," and you'll have all eyes open at the same time! You can also try telling them to relax after a couple of minutes. Sometimes the outtakes during this rest period actually make the best photos.
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Go for gold.
According to Karen Cooley, the best time to shoot is the "golden hour" about an hour before the sun goes down. Whether you're at the beach or home, the warm light makes even the most everyday shot magical and gives people a gorgeous glow...even without Photoshop.
picGet in close.
To capture true emotions, try to fill your screen as much as possible by getting yourself closer to your child or using a zoom lens. The two photos to the left illustrate the point, says Sherry Sutton. The one on the far left is a perfectly good photo but doesn't have the intensity of the photo on the near left. It's the same family on the same day; the only difference is how much the people fill the frame.
Change your perspective.
Photos don't actually have to be of your children's faces, says Karen, to capture the moment. Try taking a photo of your kids lined up from the back like the one shown here. The closeness of these children shines through - even without seeing their facial expressions.
Focus on the details.
Sometimes the strongest summer memories might be your child's favorite toy that season or a piece of hard-working sports equipment. Broaden your scrapbook range by including some of the little details that made your family's summer special.
WaldenKeep your camera nearby.
You never know when something fun is going to happen, so keep the camera close, Sherry says. She happened to find her adorable son Walden just like this the other day.
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It's okay to be shy.
If your child is camera-shy (like one of mine!), let her know you love her just the way she is, says Karen. Forcing her to put on a different personality for a photo is only going to result in a photo of a miserable child. Instead, try letting her peek out from behind something. She'll feel more comfortable, and you'll get a shot that truly captures who she is right now.
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