Our kids can trial our patience, they're loud, expensive and messy. But we love them. We love them with all our soul and we want to capture all of it; their first laughs, their moments of pride and obviously every single embarrassing moment that we can show to their partner when they're older.
Here are my 5 top tips which can help any parent capture just these.
On your marks, get setting
Look to the light
Leave the pose to the prose
Love the pout not the pose
1. On your marks, get setting.
They are never going to be small for long, so take pictures of how you want to remember them. Their tiny feet and chubby cheeks are what you'll miss the most once they've grown and flown the nest. Put your camera or even your phone camera on the Macro setting (the flower icon) get close and get creative. There are a load of phone apps you can get now which will let you make great looking collages at the touch of a few buttons. Above are pictures of Dara and Megan; some adorably sweet cousins I had the honour to photograph last year.
Children are also unpredictable, they'll run, jump and hide and you need to be ready to catch them. So learn to anticipate which settings on your camera will be best. As a default, try keeping your camera on the sport setting (the running man icon) if you don't know what's going to happen as it will reduce the blur, or shoot on the continuous setting which will shoot a whole bunch of photos quickly one after the other to make sure you definitely don't miss anything.
2. Look to the Light
Ask any photographer what the most fundamental part of photography is and guaranteed they will all tell you the same thing; light.
Everyone can tell when a picture is too dark but not everyone has a plethora of expensive flash equipment just lying around. If you find that your built-in flash is making the shadows on your subject too harsh use what you have to hand, get next to a large window or door and have them facing the light (like the example above) you can use the reflection of the light to draw real attention to the eyes. If the light is a bit too harsh, try draping a thin white bed sheet over the window to soften it. If you put them in front of it they will be silhouetted (if you want to try something a bit arty)
3. Get Angular
This is a simple one. Your children deserve better than having the plain face on static shots, Kids love to play and have fun so why not let them and use that in your photos.
Get up high or get down low. Often as adults we lose our inner child and get stuck taking photos that are inside the box. Make sure you have fun with it, get down to the ground and be dirty. Play in the sand, dip your toes in the sea and walk on the grass. The reality of it is that when it comes to your kids you'll never really be in control anyway.
4. Leave the pose to the pros.
Let the professionals do the professional shots. Photos you see online can often be misleading in regards to how they are photographed compared to the finished product. There is a brilliant video by DNA photography that shows that posing a baby for a shoot isn’t something that should be done unless it’s done properly.
Forcing your new born into unnatural poses can cause harm so please don’t try them at home.
5. Love the pout not the pose.
This one follows on from point 4 and both are genuinely the most important bits of advice I can give you when it comes to photographing your kids.
Embrace the pout!
The whole reason I decided to become a photographer was to take natural photos that capture a moment as well as an emotion. So I might be biased but I honestly believe that it would be a waste of time trying to pose someone who isn't feeling it.
Everyone would love a picture of their child smiling lovingly at the camera with serene butterflies dotted in the back ground. But let's be realistic the kid is probably covered in snot and chocolate giggling to themselves like an adorable little maniac. Take pictures of your children in their true form and let their real personality shine through for the most fantastic photos!