How to take better pics of your kids and pets

August 29, 2014


A couple of months ago I wrote about photographer Emma O’Brien, who had done a shoot of me and my son (you can find the post here, plus details of her shoot specials).

Since I’m a pretty kak photographer, and since I know moms are always looking for tips on how to improve their own pictures, Emma has shared some photography advice (and it’s not that hard or technical to follow).

Get down on their level

This one is very literal. Your pictures will look so much better if you’re on the same level as them, so be prepared to get down on your knees while you’re lining up a shot.

Be patient and take lots of pictures

As you know, kids and pets are busy and unpredictable, and unless you can work some magic they won’t keep still for very long. Patience is key, as is taking as many pictures as possible. You may only get one or two good shots, so set a faster shutter speed and don’t be afraid to shoot, shoot and shoot some more.

Keep them distracted

Rope in a friend or family member to help you capture the magic moments. It is much easier for someone else to keep your pet under control and busy while you focus on the photography. Having someone behind you or to one side of you capturing your child’s attention will make it more fun for them – and the resulting pictures will be more natural. That second pair of hands and eyes will be extremely useful, but be careful of bringing in too many helpers as this will be a distraction.

Use props

Squeaky toys, treats or balls work well to keep your pets moving or still depending on your requirements, while visually appealing props such as a flower or bright ball can be used to keep kids distracted while adding an interesting element to the photo.

Capture their eyes

The eyes really do tell the story, and your photos will be beautiful if you manage to get the ‘windows to the soul’ perfectly in focus.

Watch your composition

This is an important one. You want to ensure that your child or pet is the focus of the picture, so be very aware of your background. You don’t want anything too busy or with too many shapes or colours. Taking your family to a beach, park or garden is a great way to provide a beautiful, peaceful background. When composing your shot, try not to always have your subject right in the middle of the picture.

Keep them moving

Images of kids moving will add another element to your photo album. Encourage your children to dance, run or jump in photos – you’ll be able to capture their natural joy and delight instead of forcing them to pose.

Be aware of your colours

Look at the colour of your pet’s fur against your chosen background, and be aware that the outfit you’ve chosen for your child can make or break your photo. Patterns can look busy and detract from the main subject of your photo, but a contrast (think a red top against bright green grass) can look incredible.

For more information or to book a shoot, visit, contact Emma on 076 564 4365 or find her on Facebook

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