Monday, January 9, 2012

Photographing Your Child

Oh believe me. I am not an expert! And if you are, or you're a professional, please leave me some tips! I've had lots of wonderful complimentary comments on the photos that I post here, and I feel that my photography, knowledge of my camera, my editing skills, and the fact that I rarely shoot on auto anymore, has helped my photography come leaps and bounds, even over the last 6 months. So, I just thought that I'd share some of my own tips that I've learned raising Braden with one hand while photographing him with the other!
Braden - 9 Days Old
Take LOTS of pictures when they're young!
Newborns sleep tons! Take advantage of it. Is there anything more sweet than a picture of a sleeping newborn? I know it doesn't feel like they sleep, but they spend the majority of their day sleeping, so take advantage and get out that camera! THEY CAN'T MOVE YET! Take advantage! (see more below!)
My Little Valentine
You can never take too many pictures!
Trust me...I know! This goes along with the above point...I have taken hundreds upon hundreds of photos of Braden. I don't print them all, but I have them very well organized on Flickr, and they'll be online forever. I LOVE looking through all his pictures to see how much he's grown. You'll want to remember every.little.detail about them. Take pictures of their little dimples on their knukles, the milestones, the firsts, the funny smirks and faces they make...anything and everything!
Tummy Time
Don't be afraid to set up your own little photo shoots!
Be brave! Sometimes all you need is a nice blanket to lay/sit your baby on. Expand to buying or making backdrops and flooring too!
Fact: It is solely because of the above picture that orange is one of my favorite colors for Braden. I have such a love for this photo - the first smile that I caught of him looking into the camera. Also call him Squirt sometimes too!

Little Sock Monkey

Use props to help you!
If your child is anything like soon as they're mobile...the picture taking becomes harder...and harder...and harder! They do NOT want to sit still. Use props such as chairs, toys, stools...anything you think that will get them to sit for a few shots.
Portraits of a Future Ring Bearer

....or stand!
Portraits of a Future Ring Bearer

Cookies are props too!
Cookie Monster Halloween 2011
Don't get caught up on "the perfect smile"!
You and your child will stress and both hate the picture taking experience if you are jet set on catching that "perfect" smiling picture. Don't get me wrong, it's awesome to get those photos, but it isn't always going to happen, sometimes it takes a lot of work. Some of my favorite pictures of Braden are of him looking natural!
Almost 1 Year
Braden's First Fall
Braden in the Wheat Field
Braden's First Halloween
My Little Farm Boy
Plus, who wants the dreaded "cheese" face anyway? ;)
"Cheese!" face! 
I just love taking the "every day" pictures too!
Just Eatin' a Cookie...watchin' Bob! 
If you have a cranky/fussy little person...improvise!
How do I do that? You ask? Well, do what you gotta do! Braden dreads having his picture taken when he has to "pose" now. When we set up for our Christmas photos this year, as soon as I was putting on his dress shirt, he knew it was picture day and he started to fuss. We went to go take pictures and he pushed away from us, started we took a Yop break. Then my brother had Thomas playing on YouTube on his laptop. That resulted in Thomas trance...(not ideal for the Christmas card!)
Christmas Pictures 2011
Do something that makes them happy. We have had mucho success with this trick for Braden. We toss him up in the air 3 times, we catch him, look at the camera and SMILE! He's laughing, so then it ends up like this:
Christmas Pictures 2011
That was our one and only perfect shot. It only takes one. To get this picture, with a surprisingly non-smiley Braden, I vividly remember singing "I had a rooster and my rooster pleased me! I fed my rooster 'neath the green wood tree! And my old rooster when cock-a-doodle-do! Dee doodle dee doodle dee doodle dee do!" But I got this:
And instead of throwing him up in the air to get him to laugh/smile for his 1 year pictures, he was very into being swung up and down, so we "1, 2, 3" swung him, stopped so it looked like he was walking and our photographer got this shot...the one and only of him smiling for his 1 year session!
1 Year Pictures
Try to have fun!
I have to remind myself of this one EVERY time I try do to a shoot with Braden. Especially now that he's older and seems to be "too cool" to have his picture taken by mommy. I find the best pictures are the ones where it's as natural as possible. I think for this age (almost 2) gone are the days of setting up an actual shoot in our house. He and I both do best outside where he is au naturelle in his element. The only thing I have control over his his outfit! If you are stressed out taking their picture, it then in turn makes them stressed out having it taken = no fun for anyone!
And lastly...editing can do WONDERS! I have learned pretty much all the basics of using PhotoShop Elements (I have version 6) from The Pioneer Woman. The goddess (in my opinion) of blogging! She has amazing free actions and I even did a blog post about it this summer! Any little blips can usually easily be fixed with a few touch ups in PhotoShop. Picnik is an amazing alternative, they have lots of free actions too!

Also, did you notice that way up there I have a Photos tab? It includes my gear and some photography recognition!