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If you want to take a great photo of your child, there can and will be many things that may stress you out. Such as worrying about how to properly set the scene up? What background to use? Where to take it? The kids themselves? And many others.

Disclaimer: I cannot remove the stress if your child is acting up!

However, bribery does usually work.  Also, acting silly or telling jokes is a great way to get them to laugh and act natural.
Remember…If you’re stressed out, they will be stressed out.  So, try to keep it light and fun!

Ok, so let’s make the technical parts easy!

I’m going to share with you some helpful tips for stress free photos.

stress free photos for kids PIN

#1.  Learn the in’s and out’s of taking pictures with your cell phone.

The majority of us have amazing technology built right into the phone.  No need to worry about going out to buy an expensive camera, your cell phone was expensive enough! So, let’s use it.

Since every phone model is different, I cannot possibly go over everything here. So, I highly encourage you browse YouTube tutorials to learn how to use all the little bells and whistles offered in your phone’s camera app.

That being said, if your camera doesn’t offer very many options, then I’d highly recommend using downloadable editing and photo optimizing apps to give you more functionality. The app that I suggest you check out is Camera+ .  (This is NOT an affiliate link.  I just love the app!)

The Camera+ app gives you a lot more functionality above what the native cell phone camera app allows.  It allows you to separate your focus and exposure settings which is AWESOME!!

I have created a Camera+ tutorial on how to do this exact tip. Check it out over on LearnBlogPhotography.

Side note: If you have a Galaxy Samsung S7, your phone camera and its capabilities are amazing!  Personally, I am an Apple fan girl, but if I were to ever buy another phone, it would be this one. So if you have this phone you don’t even have to consider getting add-on apps to get fancy with photo capture because it is already built in.

#2.  Scope out ahead of time EPIC photo locations.

Some places to consider and make note of:
Your own house or your friend`s house
Walls that are basic and plain to serve as backdrops
Fireplaces with natural brick work
Stone walls outside buildings in your neighborhood
A clean wood floor with the baseboard can be a great backdrop
The park

#3. The set-up plan and lighting

Ideally if you’re taking the photos inside, you’ll want to set up near a window, or sliding glass door.  Make sure when you set up near this light source that the sun is not beating in on your kids or your subjects. You’ll want to make sure it is indirect light which is going to offer the brightness from the sun but is not going to give you the hard light that will create very distinct shadows.  This may require that you take the photo at a different time, or pick a different location if the sun is streaming in on your kids.  Another option for this would be to hang a sheet curtain over the window.  This will allow light to enter, but it will be spread out as it passes through the curtain and will give you softer light and no hard shadows.

Extra Tip about Lighting: Sometimes, even if you’re using indirect or filtered light, the far side of your child will need a little more light.  Don’t turn on a light.  If you need a little extra light on your kid on the opposite side of where the window light is, you can use a big piece of white foam core board which can be scored (not cut) down the middle.  If you bend the board to create a “V” you can have this board stand up on its own to reflect some of the light coming in and it’ll bounce it back on the kids. This is an easy $1 item that can be used to add a little extra light to your scene just so that it can fill in the shadows and not make them quite so dark.

Extra Extra Tip about Lighting: I don’t recommend using your overhead lights or a lamp because that is going to have a different color temperature.  You will have a nice bright white light coming in from the window so you don’t want to mix color temperatures because more than likely the light from your lamps will be more yellow.

#4. The Arrangement of the Kids

The next thing you want to do is try to keep the kids as far away from the backdrop or background as possible. This will allow you to make the background a little more blurry and make the kids stand out. Now obviously if you have a tight space you are going to have to do the best you can. If you can’t move back any further in order to bring the kids closer to you, it is what it is. Best case scenario, unless they are sitting on the item (ex. the fireplace ledge) it would be better to get them further away from the backdrop as best as possible.

Also, have the kids super close together; even touching if you can (without them fighting).   Try to arrange them so that their heights are uneven too.  This will make it more visually appealing.

#5 .  Backdrop Suggestions

So what are some other things could you use as backdrops that are inexpensive or relatively easy to obtain?  Keep in mind whatever backdrop you plan to use, Keep It Simple.  The KISS method – less is more. If you have something extremely detailed and intricate, it is going to overpower your scene and distract from your kids.  I know the damask look is popular for some people, you can use that but maybe make it muted, not something really bright and vibrant. Even chevron, although cute and popular, can be overwhelming.

Cheap alternatives to backdrops to consider:
Table cloths
Blankets – hang them up and let them drape behind the kids
Paper Chains and flag banners.  Get creative and make them.  It only takes some paper, scissors and maybe a string to hang up and you have a great backdrop; but if you don’t want to make them, you can go to craft stores or the party section and probably find exactly what you’re looking for.
Pre-made decorations (possibly holiday related themes)

A few things to keep in mind… plan ahead.  Don’t try to throw all of this together at the last minute.  Work around your child’s nap schedule AND have fun!!

I would love to see your work and help you if you have any further questions.

If you’re looking for additional tips on improving your photos, I have a free 5 day photo challenge.  In it, you’ll learn basic photography principles that would greatly improve your photos.  You’ll learn about lighting, composition, and much more!!  If you’re interested click on over and get signed up, it’s FREE!!  5 Day Photo Challenge for better photos!

Happy Snapping!

Amy Jackson


amy jacksonAmy is the founder of www.learnblogphotography.com where she empower bloggers to ditch stock photos and learn to take their own. She also offers “Done For You” stock photo services for those who don’t want to learn but just want it done.

Amy is a single mom to her 13-yr old son who happens to share her passion for both skiing and photography. Amy is proud to be able to leverage her lifelong creative outlet and teach others how to benefit from photography.

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