Guest Post: Studio 310 Photography

May 20, 2011

Hello to all of Faith’s blog readers. I’m excited to guest post on the Great Smitten blog today. My name is Amanda, and I’m a professional photographer in North Carolina. You can see some of my work on the Studio 310 blog and portfolio website.

Today, I’m going to share with y’all some tips for taking better photos of your kids, although these ideas can be applied to other kinds of photography—not just children’s portraits.

1. The first thing I always tell people to help them improve their photos and use their camera better is READ YOUR CAMERA MANUAL. It’s like a mini photography lesson. If the manual that came with your camera is super boring to you, search your library or bookstore or online for a manual published by someone else. There will likely be several to choose from, so hopefully one will suit your style of learning.

2. Take lots of  photos. This is one of the awesome things about digital cameras compared to when we shot film. You will have to spend some time sifting through everything, but you won’t have to pay to have every photo you shoot developed and printed. As you are learning, you may have to take dozens (or 100s) to get one great photo. But isn’t it worth it?

3. Get closer. It’s great to have some photos that show off where you are and what you’re doing, but it’s also great to have photos of your kids and their sweet faces. Get down on their level and interact with them. I think overall, amateur photographers can benefit from getting closer. So zoom in with your lens and take a few steps closer with your feet.

4. Try out different points of view. At some point at almost every one of my sessions, I end up practically lying on the ground. Variety is good. Take some photos straight on, some from a higher angle, and some from a lower angle.

5. Pay attention to the background. This isn’t just about not having trees or candles growing out of your subject’s head. You can look for the best angle to have a great background for your photos. If there is something in the background that might distract from your beautiful subjects, you can probably move just a couple feet to completely eliminate it from your frame.

6. Use natural light. Some great natural light you can look for is in the hour after the sun rises and the hour before the sun sets. In the middle of the day, look for shady spots like under trees or awnings to help cut down strong contrast and squinty eyes. Cloudy, overcast days can be great for learning too. If you are shooting inside, look for pretty natural light in bright rooms and by windows.

In the shade

Just before sunset

By the window

7. Know when to keep going and know when to call it quits for a while. Just because the kids aren’t cooperating exactly like you expected, or they aren’t giving you their happiest smiles, doesn’t mean your little session isn’t going to work out for you. Sometimes the best photo opportunities happen at times you could have never set up. And it’s okay to capture your child’s different moods; all the photos don’t have to be smiley. That said, it is not worth it to push your kid to the meltdown point. You all want to have fun. You know your child best, and you know his or her limit.

8. Practice, practice, practice. Take your camera out and practice these tips. Even though I’ve been shooting professionally for over 6 years, I still learn something or improve some aspect of my work every time I shoot.

I hope these tips help you improve your photography and enjoy using your camera and taking photos of your kids. If you’d like to learn more, you’re welcome to email me with your questions at info at studio310photo dot com.  I also teach beginner photography classes if you’re not too far from North Carolina!

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