With half term approaching, you may be planning to get out and about with the children. It is the perfect season to enjoy some time together outdoors. It is not too cold, there are tonnes of leaves to run around in, conkers to collect and beautiful colours everywhere. The autumn is a favourite season in our house- every year we carve pumpkins, go out for lots of walks (the dog goes wild chasing leaves!) and enjoy simple time visiting National Trust properties or local parks.
It is the perfect time of year to capture some outdoor photographs of your children. The light is soft, the colours are stunning and it is still warm enough to enjoy being outdoors without too many layers.
Here are my top tips to get some great shots of your children;
- What to wear- A little planning to co-ordinate clothes and thinking about the colours they wear can make a big difference to your photographs. If your children are anything like mine they have their own ideas about what they want to wear! It is important they are happy and comfortable as this will shine through in the images. When I take my girls out for some photographs with the ‘big’ camera, they like to get dressed up in something nice (dressing up in our house means wearing clothes that match, without paint or other stains on!) and they like to be involved in the choice!
- Get them excited- When I say excited, I don’t mean jumping around off the scale! Tell them where you are going- or let them help to choose a location. Tell them about the fun things you are going to do. We sometimes forget how much fun an hour outside, exploring a natural location can be and how much our children love our full attention.
- Think about location- it’s all about location! At this time of year our parks, natural outdoor spaces, woodland and National Trust properties offer beautiful backdrops for your photographs and simple fun things to do as a family. My girls love to climb trees, collect leaves, conkers, acorns and balancing on logs.
- Your approach- I love to take natural photographs of my children to capture their personalities in my images. To do this they have to be having fun- the smiles and laughter has to be real. Be prepared to make them laugh. Jump around, act like a loon, tell silly jokes. We play games like ‘you are not allowed to smile’ (my 2 crack up) or I challenge one to make the other laugh.
- Composition and perspective- you can create interesting photographs by changing your position and perspective for a shot. I love to get children to sit down somewhere so I can get higher and shoot down on them. I can often be found crawling around or lying on the floor to get down to their level! Try taking photographs where the children are not in the centre of the frame. Think about what is in the background of your shot. Move so that you can’t see cars, or other distracting things like bins or signs that would attract attention away from your children in the image.
- Think about the light- The light will make a big difference to your images. Bright sunshine in the face of your subject will not produce flattering photographs. Too much shade will be difficult to photograph in. I often look for ‘top shade’. This can be provided by standing the children in doorways, or just under natural shelter such as tree branches.
- Throwing leaves shot- want to capture some photographs of the children throwing leaves? This can be tricky because they will be moving. If you are using a DSLR, make sure you have a fast shutter speed. It can help if you use a ‘burst’ mode which enables you to fire off a number of shots very quickly. Ask the children to collect leaves but to wait until you count to 3 before throwing them high in the air! A great shot is to capture their anticipation before they throw! It’s challenge but the children will love it!
- Have fun! Enjoy quality time with your children. The secret to taking photographs of your children you will treasure is to capture them just as they are- their quirks, individuality and big personalities. They don’t have to be looking at you and smiling. They can be deep in thought as they search for a bright shiny conker. They can be sitting on a log pretending they sitting on a horse, galloping through leaves. They can be pulling ‘the face that they do’. Capture it, freeze it in time, love it and treasure it. The photographs will bring back the happiest memories in years to come as they grow up.
Remember- as well as capturing photographs of our children, it is important to be in the photographs too! For information about my family shoots please contact me here.