You don’t need a fancy backdrop to shoot portraits at home. All you need is a good camera, some practice with your camera settings, and a lot of patience. Keep in mine these won’t end up looking like portrait studio shots. They’ll actually look better! When you’re interacting with your kids, you’ll end up with more natural poses, better smiles, and some memories to boot.
- Coordinate moods. This isn’t easy, but you want to make sure you’re not shooting tired, hungry or cranky children. Change diapers and apply snacks to all your little models before you start shooting. It might also help to bribe them with rewards if they cooperate.
- Get outside or use a lot of natural light. Avoid trying to set up a light kit at home. The same goes for overhead lighting in your house. Everyone will look ghastly. Shoot outside early in the morning or late in the evening when the lighting is mellow and the shadows aren’t too harsh. If you need to stay inside, spend a couple of days watching the light in your home. What time of day do you get the best lighting, and where?
- Use more than one location. Try shooting inside and outside, and in a few locations. You might end up liking how everything comes together on your couch, and you might be inspired by a patch of green grass or a great textured wall outside.
- Let kids be kids. Don’t try anything too fancy. You’ll probably want to avoid the human pyramid. But you can introduce props or have kids hold up cute signs or initials to jazz things up. Great portraits are a little spontaneous. Let the kids wiggle and laugh and get their sillies out.
- Try lots of angles. Ideally, you want to get down to eye level with the kids. This might mean crouching or sitting on a chair. But don’t be afraid to move around a lot as you shoot. (You’re shooting hundreds of photos, right?) Try shooting them from above, try getting down on your stomach and shooting them on the floor. Shoot them looking at the camera, looking away, and looking at each other.
Remember, if you end up with three great shots out of three hundred, you’re a winner!