Good morning! If you follow me on Facebook or my photography work in general, you may know that aside from being a full time small business owner, I am also the mommy to two little girls, Emma (5 years old) and Lucy (12 months). I am also pregnant with number three - another girl!
And while I've always enjoyed photographing my littles, my photography business has allowed me to grow and develop as a photographer. I am constantly practicing, investing in new equipment, watching You Tube videos, actively participating in constructive criticism groups, and striving to better myself. The moment you think you "know it all" is the moment you cease to grow; a step back into the darkness occurs. Because of this, I take several sessions a month, but always make time to photograph my own kiddos. I don't want to miss anything and I am looking forward to having a beautiful collection of photographs as they age. 20 years from now, when they're graduating college or walking down the aisle, I want to remember their newborn features, first steps, or them jumping into a pool for the first time. I want tears of happiness to fill my eyes when I see photos of them playing together, or being carried on Dad's shoulders. Photographs are a concrete connection to the past - they're the chocolate chips to our cookie in life!
And as stated, I do not know everything about photography, though I do not what has been working for me, from a personal perspective. Often, fellow mommies ask me how to take candid and natural, less formally posed images of their own children. Because let's face it: a photographer may not be present the first time your little one smiles at you or when they accomplish a milestone.
First things first: my equipment. I am a prime lens (set focal point) collector. When photographing my children inside, I use a Canon 6d body and the following lenses: 24 mm f/1.4 ART, 35 mm f/1.4 ART, and a 50 mm f/1.4 ART. Outdoors, I use a 135 mm F/2L and a 200 mm f/2.8L. These, however, are not necessary to take nice photos of your little ones. I run a full time photography business so I am always lusting after the sharpest, best reviewed lenses. Something like 50 mm f/1.8 (roughly 125 dollars, great deal) is perfect indoors or out.
Secondly - perspective! Always get on the level of your children. Get on your tummy! Crouch behind the couch. See them for who they are; what are they viewing? What has caught their attention? I avoid saying, "Look at mommy!" Instead, I observe. I patiently wait and do not have expectations. After all, they're small children and it's not their job to "perform" for me; part of the magic of child photography is embracing who your child is and not forcing them into any posing.
Thirdly - settings! With my own children, I shoot at fast shutter speeds, such as 1/500 or faster usually. If they're moving, this helps to ensure the photo is not blurry. I also like wide apertures such as f/1.4 because I adore background compression (aka "the blur") you see in my photographs. I do not add anything like that in processing. It's all in camera. But remember: you'll also have to bump your ISO up a smidgen (which is your camera's sensitivity to light). I always select the middle focal point and then meter for the skin. It's important to retain highlights. And finally - I shoot in RAW. While I do strive to have everything right in camera, I like to have all the data at my hands. This helps in case my white balance was off or I slightly under exposed an image.
And that's it! Have fun with your kids! And practice. Lots of practice. That's the joy of a digital age: with DSLR you have unlimited "film".