With the school holidays coming up, you’re probably planning trips, excursions, and outings with the kids. If you’re like most parents, that mobile phone or that DSLR is always in your hand, ready to capture every smile on those precious little faces.
But being trigger-happy does not guarantee beautiful kids photos. In fact, you could easily end up with multiple shots of blurry faces #truestory instead of that Annie Leibowitz-worthy capture you were imagining in your head.
We asked Irene Kuok, founder and chief photographer at Cloud Productions (who recently shared with us the 10 Best Places for Family Photoshoots in Singapore) for some much-needed insight and tips.
What’s the best things about taking kids photos?
One of the best things about taking pictures of children is that I know I am helping families to bond together during the photoshoot. With our daily lives so busy with work and other commitments, having quality time as a family may not be the easiest. Having a photoshoot allows families to spend time together, and eternalise these moments.
Also, we all know that children all grow up so quickly that we forget how they are like as children. I immortalise these special moments of children at different milestones during their growing up years. Photos mean a great deal as they allow us to take a trip down memory lane when we look at them.
The hardest thing about taking kids photos?
Photographing children is not hard considering the myriad of expressions they have. What is truly difficult is capturing a genuine smile from children, especially those who have been constantly trained by their parents to smile for the cameras.
As parents always want to capture happy smiles on their photos, often when they take pictures of their children, they will ask them to smile for the shot. It definitely is a plus point if the child is able to smile upon request for photographs, however, the smile that is portrayed by these children are often “forced” and “staged” and not necessarily a true reflection of what they are feeling or the real joy they are experiencing.
Will it make any difference if I take kids photos using my phone, and using a DSLR?
Yes and No. It depends on your expectations and the personality of the child. If the child does not move around much, a mobile phone’s camera would work just fine in capturing the shots. However, if the child is an active kid and cannot keep still, it can result in blurred images.
Due to the lack of manual controls, we are limited in terms of settings when using a mobile phone to shoot. With the use of a DSLR, settings such as the shutter speed and ISO can be adjusted and controlled. Consequently, this ensures the quality of the photographs, especially when shooting moving objects (read: the kids).
If you like to print your images, remember to pay attention to the image resolution. You should use a DSLR so as to ensure high image resolution and good quality images.
If I only want to use a phone, which has the best camera?
Right now, Huawei P30 Pro’s camera would probably have the best zooming quality. The portrait mode on iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max work well if you are taking stationary portrait shots of children. This is similar to a professional camera in terms of the depth of field effect, which blurs the background of the photo.
What basic rule of photography should I follow?
The most basic thing is to pay attention to the photo composition. Photo composition is all about the placement of every element in a single photograph. The easiest composition guide is the rule of thirds. Creating a balanced exposure is just as important.
5 Things to know when taking family photos
1. What to wear
Comfort is key! Wear:
- Clothing and shoes you feel most comfortable in for the shoot
- Outfits that are memorable to you
- Accessorise! Wear accessories such as earrings and bracelets
- Themed clothing sets can look cute too
- Wearing slippers
- Shirts with corporate logos
- Oversized shirts / dresses
2. Which props (optional) to use
- Decorative Umbrellas
- Picnic Mats & Basket (for Gardens)
3. What to bring for your child and family
Bring items that are memorable to the family, as well as your child’s favourite toys. If you need to, you can shop around for props to theme your shoot. Sweet treats can help too! Ensure that everyone is hydrated and has more than enough water for the shoot (especially with Singapore’s weather and intensive walking).
4. Time of the photoshoot
Many have misconceptions on natural light when it comes to photography. The best time of day to take portrait photos is a couple of hours after sunrise and before sunset. Within that time, it is better to shoot after the morning golden hour or before the evening golden hour. It’s important to avoid choosing a mid-day timing. It can be tough to stand under the hot sun with harsh lighting for a long time. We have no control on the weather, so it is advised to schedule a timing when the sun is less harsh on the family.
- 7.30 – 9.30am – less heat caused by the sunlight
- 9.30 -11.30am – bright and sunny
- 4.30 – 5.30pm – bright but less hot
- 5.30 – 7.30pm – catch the sunset!
5. Location Planning: where to go?
When it comes to choosing a location, revisiting the places of good memories is always a good choice for photoshoots. Outdoor photography makes photos come alive, and having a picturesque background, may make the foreground livelier. Ask yourself these, what places are most memorable to you and your family? Does your family have a favourite hangout spot?
Images: Cloud Productions