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how to, parenting tips, photos, better photos, photo tips, photographyI am not a  professional photographer but, I do love taking pictures of my children, and know that someday these pictures will remind them of fun memories and the love that we have for each other. 

Let’s face it, though. Taking pictures of kids is HARD!

They don’t sit still, they have “fake smiles,” and they lose focus easy… just to name a few issues.

Over the last few years, I have tried to learn more about how to take better photos of my children.

And while I’m still no master, I do have a few tricks in my repertoire that have resulted in some of my favorite shots of my four children.

So, here are my five best tips for getting great photos of your children no matter what type of camera you have!

1. Lighting, lighting, lighting! The MOST important thing to think about when taking pictures of any kind is the lighting. If at all possible, go outside! Natural light is always best. Try to shy away from direct sunlight, especially since kids’ eyes are super sensitive to sunlight and you end up getting the squinty-eyed look (like I got a little in the photo above). Have the light shining from behind them, or put them just inside a shady area for the best light. The best light is in late afternoon or early to mid-morning.

If you can’t go outside, try to take pictures using the natural light from a window. Don’t shoot directly toward a window though, or you’ll get a shadowy face and a halo effect.

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2. No flash! This is the second thing I always do. I almost NEVER use my flash. The flash lets off a very unflattering unnatural light. It causes shadows that you don’t want in your photos. BUT let’s be realistic, sometimes you have to use it. So if you do, here’s an easy trick to help soften the flash. While you’re snapping the pic, hold a paper towel or tissue (basically anything thin and white) in front of the flash, careful not to hang it into the view of the lens. This will soften the flash and create a much warmer picture.

3. Take lots of pictures! If you’re shooting pictures of children, taking LOTS of photos is key. To get the photo above, I took over 30 snapshots of them lying in the grass. We tried different poses to find the right one, and I got tons of pictures with one of them closing their eyes or wearing the dreaded “painful smile.” At one point, Luke was rolling back and forth. When I loaded the pictures and looked at them, I was happy to find at least one good one!

4. Have fun and be creative! Kids love taking pictures with silly faces and poses, which makes for some great candid shots. Photo props are all the rage these days, and kids love having fun with props! With Silly Me Photo Booth you can make all kinds of silly props, like a pirate face, funky glasses, or scuba dive gear to add some silly fun to your photos!

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5. Keep shooting! It took me awhile to learn this, but I discovered that if I only waited until every person had the perfect expression on their faces, or were looking the right way, or were sitting still to snap the picture that I would never get a good one and I would just be frustrated. Once I started continually shooting even when people weren’t looking or perfect, I started getting some great expressive pictures that really captured the kids’ personalities and their relationships with each other. For example, this picture of the boys totally missing on a high five makes us laugh every time we look at it!

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Or this one, when Luke suddenly pulled up his shirt and yelled, “Belly button!”

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Neither of these pictures has the boys looking directly at the camera, but it shows their fun-loving personalities!

Always have your camera ready and waiting because you never know when those crazy kids will do something photo worthy. Spontaneous pictures are the best! Shoot photos from a variety of angles, and remember that’s it’s not always about the perfect clothes or background. The most memorable pictures capture your child’s joyful expressions!