This week, as promised, Larissa Annen of Daisy Portraits talks about taking candid photos. While she obviously values professional photography, Larissa feels parents taking their own pictures of their kids is equally important. Here are a few tips she gave me for taking great pictures on your own.

  1. Be Ready. Keep a camera out and handy – whether it’s a point and shoot or just your cell phone. Take pictures of everything. Not only will your kids stop noticing when you take pictures, out of the 10 shots you get, one will be a gem.
  2. Interact. To catch a special moment, sit and interact with your child with your camera. Interview them while they play. Quietly say, “Look.” When they turn to you, snap the picture.
  3. Capture Life. Let children play as they are in the moment. Observe what they do and how they do it. This is the real difference between your pictures and a professional.
  4. Get Outdoors. Generally outside light will make better pictures. Make sure, whatever your light source, it is not harsh or casting a shadow. Midday can be too much. The best times of day are between 8 and 9:30 in the morning or two hours before sunset. If you’re taking pictures indoors, try to use sun light through a window.
  5. Keep Them Busy. Children are so much easier to photograph when they are holding something or doing something. Have them grip the edge of a chair, hold a ball, or climb a tree.
  6. Get the Kids Involved. Let them choose where they want to take pictures. Maybe they want to sit on a rock or duck between trees. Or they might want to pose with a doll or another favorite toy. This gives them ownership over the process and helps them feel creative. They will be much more cooperative, if they think it’s their idea!
  7. Vary the Colors. When taking a group shot, having everyone wear one color doesn’t photograph well. The color can absorb too much light or wash you out. Instead, wear shaded variations.
  8. Play Time. An easier way to photograph sibling groups is to make it a game. Threats or bribes can put unnatural smiles on their faces. Ask how close they can get to each other, if they can smell each other’s arm pits, or what they like about their brother/sister/friend. If you can make them laugh, you can take a fabulous shot.

Overall, candid pictures are about saving memories and looking back at everyday moments. You can use these tips to improve your picture quality, but they do not need to look professional. Just keep that shutter clicking.

Don’t forget, you can check out Larissa’s pictures at daisyportraits.com or as Daisy Portraits on Facebook.