How to Document Your Children

In the previous blog post I gave you several ideas on how to document your children. Today, I have a little more technical advice.

How To Document Your Children

Finding the Light

Lighting can make or break a photo. And when you are photographing your children you will come across every single lighting situation. From icky, yellow indoor lighting to the harsh, midday sun to the hazy glow of golden hour, you can learn to embrace each of them.

So much of raising kiddos takes place indoors. In the winter, it is too cold and the exact opposite is true in the summer. Finding good light inside your home (or any other place you frequent) will help your images make it to the next level. One thing I always do at home is to turn off all artificial lights and use only window light. Study your home and the times of day where the light comes in the prettiest. Once you find the areas with the best light, utilize them! Encourage your children to play in that spot or move to a certain area to do their activities. You can also create interesting shadows and contrast when working with window light. Working indoors was a fun challenge to tackle, and I have come to love shooting indoors.

How To Document Your Children

Photographing midday can be tough, but many times that is when you and your kids are out an about. Soccer games, field trips, or summer at the pool all happen in the middle of the day. Times like these it makes it easier if you know how to adjust your camera’s settings. Dropping your ISO, upping your shutter speed and f-stop can all help you achieve a properly exposed image. Finding a patch of open shade will always be helpful and will eliminate the shadowy shark eyes often present in photographs taken midday. Once you are comfortable shooting midday, you will come to love the rich, vibrant colors.

How To Document Your Children

Who doesn’t love photographing during golden hour? That beautiful warm glow illuminating an image is perfection. Just like I mentioned above, guiding your children to do their activities in the best light will help your image become more beautiful. So, why not guide them to play, read, ride their bikes, etc. through the pretty sunrise or sunset? Some of my favorite, more canvas worthy images I have taken of my boys were when I encouraged them to go play in prettiest spot of light. My six-year-old will even say now, “You want us to go play in that patch of light?”. I have trained them well.

How To Document Your Children

Always Be Ready!

Three years into my daily photo project, I have become a pro at having my camera on the ready. Batteries charged, card inserted, and my trusty 35mm on my body and packed into my oversized purse. When I first got my camera I did not take it out often. I am also an introvert, so I was overly self-conscious about people looking at me (and I had no idea what I was doing). Ha! I missed so many photo worthy moments because I was too scared and embarrassed to take my camera out in public. But now, it is rare that I DON’T have my camera with me and the feeling of everyone staring at me has passed. I love documenting the real moments out and about with my boys. Don’t let fear or embarrassment hold you back from documenting your kids in public places. I take the fly on the wall approach to pretty much anything I photograph, from weddings to my own children, so it is natural for me to back up and document natural moments. And having my camera with me permits me be able to document these memories.

How To Document Your Children

Tell the Whole Story

Many times when documenting our kiddos, we always get the big picture. What we miss out on are the details. It is easy to snap a photo of a moment, but if you want to tell the entire story include some detail images. My work as a wedding photographer has encouraged me to take more time to document the small details that help tell the complete story. The bonus of doing this is that it will help you branch out from what you are accustomed to shooting and take pictures from different angles and perspectives. Detail shots have come to be some of my favorites!

How To Document Your Children

Learning to embrace different lighting situations will make it easier to become comfortable documenting all the various activities of your children in any location. And by documenting the big picture down to the small details, will help you tell the complete story. Join me in the final installment where I discuss the WHY behind documenting your children. Check back soon for more!


How to Document Your Children—Part 1

How to Document Your Children—Part 2

How to Document Your Children—Part 3

Allison Wheeler
 is a lover of lifestyle photography from Norman, Oklahoma. Her eyes were opened to photography by toying with Instagram in 2010.  She got a camera soon after and learned to use it by documenting her life with her husband and three young sons.   She now happily does the same for others, from births to weddings and almost everything in between. To see Allison's most recent work, visit her Facebook page.  She often gets on Pinterest to avoid cleaning her house.