Ten tips for taking better family pictures.

24th May 2013
Whether it's newborn photography, family photography or photographs of your children at a wedding or party here are our top 10 tips to help make your photographs really stand out from the crowd.

#1 Get down to their level. Taking photographs while standing is fine but there are only so many tops of children's heads you want to see. To really capture the essence of your children get down to their level. I can't tell you how many pairs of jeans I get though with the knees wearing out but its worth it. Your pictures will take on a whole new feel if you get down low and you'll children will love it too.

#2 Look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. As a professional family and children's photographer I'm always looking for those precious moments that you very rarely see or have chance to photograph. Look for the times when your children aren't bouncing off the walls or running wildly around the garden and you may photograph something very, very special!

#3 Don't tell them to smile! "Wait for it…don't move…come on smile now…give your brother a hug!" One of the worst things you can do is bark orders at your child, it can ruin the mood and I guarantee they won't do anything you tell them to do, unless you are looking for a forced smile and stiff arms in which case its perfect! Some of the most stunning photographs are when children aren't smiling, a momentary break in the storm, these are when children look their most fragile and have a rare quality that will remind you of their childhood in years to come.

#4 Photograph them doing stuff. Interaction with people and objects makes for really lovely pictures. The more natural the moment the better the photograph but just be on the ready as they can be gone in an instant. I keep my camera close at hand at all times while on photo shoots as you can bet your bottom dollar that as soon as you take a break something wonderful will happen. Thats the advantage of booking a professional children's photographer as you'll be able to carry on and let us capture a magical moment.

#5 Use props. Photographing children's portraits is great, they've got perfect skin, their eyes shine and their expression are priceless. However sometimes its great to add a little something extra to really make the photograph POP! Using hats, sunglasses and coat hoods can have a dramatic impact on the pictures you take, don't be scared to hide a lot of the their face but remember to always get their eyes in focus.

#6 Which brings me nicely to 'Eye contact'. Its simple and seems obvious but all too frequently you've got mum or dad to one side telling their children to "do this" and "do that" for the camera. Its a fact of life but the outcome is that all your pictures will be of your children looking to one side. Theres no right or wrong way to do this but my advice is to use the camera's viewfinder and put it to your eye and then talk to your child, ask them questions about what they are doing, don't tell them to smile, and don't let anyone else talk while you're taking the photograph.

#7 The rule of thirds. In the rule of thirds imagine your photograph divided into thirds with two imaginary lines vertically and another two horizontally splitting your image into nine sections. Place your child or subject on or near these imaginary lines or where they intersect when taking a picture. Of course the most important rule of children's photography is that there are no rules but try this and you'll see a whole new world of pictures that you're taking.

#8 Change your angle and takes lots of pictures. With phones and todays cameras you can take loads more pictures without having to worry about running out of film. Try taking a bunch of photographs of the same scene but change the angle or your camera. You'll find a whole new dimension to the pictures you take and also get to pick the very best one and delete the others so no one has to see your mistakes…unless you like the ones where your children have their eyes closed, are out of focus or only have half their face in it! In which case keep them all!

#9 Use good natural lighting and avoid flash at all costs. All to often people rely on in-camera or phone flash. There is no substitute for natural light, so turn off your flash and look for the light as in my opinion flash ruins photographs. Just by placing your subject next to a window can make a massive difference and your photographs will have a wonderful nature feel to them.

#10 Patience! If theres one thing I've learnt about children's photography it's that you need a lot of patience! If you going to get those perfect pics don't rush it! Enjoy the moment, sit back and wait…and wait…and wait, as I'll guarantee the moment will come and you'll have a photograph and a memory that will make you smile in years to come.

My Family pictures are professional children's photographers based in Nottingham, the UK. We specialise in family, children, newborn and baby photography taken in the comfort of your own home. We also love weddings and civil partnership photography. So whatever you photography need drop us a line and we'll be delighted to capture your special moments for you and your loved ones to cherish for years to come.