Keeping your child’s online baby journal updated means a few things: you need to type up entries regularly and you should include pictures to document different events and happenings. But what if you’ve never been a photographer and don’t know the first thing about taking decent pictures? All isn’t lost. You can take a quick crash course in photography and drastically improve the quality of the photos you’re taking by following these 10 tips.
- The best camera to have is the one you will actually use – It may be tempting to rush out and buy an expensive new camera when your little one makes her entrance into the world, but that will all be for naught if you don’t bring the camera everywhere with you. On the other hand, if you know that you’ll always have your camera phone with you but you’ll rarely have your fancy camera on hand, use your camera phone. Camera phones have come a long way in recent years and you’ll probably be surprised with the quality of photographs you can take with one.
- Be careful with your camera’s flash – Use natural lighting whenever you can. Flash tends to wash people out and cause reflections in windows, screens and other objects. It also can be the culprit of the dreaded red-eye in photographs. When should you use flash? During the day when you’re trying to avoid shadows. It might sound like a contradiction, but it works!
- Candid photos make the best shots – Instead of sticking to still photos of your child smiling at the camera, get as many candid shots as possible. Candid photographs capture the true essence of your child, more than a staged shot ever could. Snap away as your child plays at the park, laughs with a friend or intently builds with blocks. These are the moments you want to remember, and the ones that will make the best photographs.
- Use the Rule of Thirds – It’s a common misconception that the subject of your photograph should be dead center in the picture. Instead of centering all of your photographs, use the rule of thirds. Most cameras and even phones have the option of adding in a nine section grid to your photographs, which easily allows you to break the photo down into thirds. Shooting pictures using the rule of thirds helps give your photo more visual and creative interest.
- Get up close and personal – Don’t make the mistake of stepping away from your child to get a photograph. Get up close and personal! Doing so allows you to capture expressions and details that you would have otherwise missed and focuses the picture more than a shot taken far away does. Fill up the screen with your shot.
- Make sure the sun is behind you in outdoor photography – When you’re taking outdoor shots, keep the sun’s location in consideration. Taking a photo with the sun behind your child or the subject of your photograph will negatively affect the picture. Shoot with the sun behind your back to avoid harsh lighting.
- Experiment with different angles – Taking the same picture several times at varying angles will give you a completely different photo and perspective every time. What might be a bland photo at one angle will be a stunning photo at another. Play around with your pictures as you take them.
- Take more pictures than you think you need – Avoid limiting yourself to just one photograph. Instead, take several shots at a time. This gives you the chance to weed out pictures that may not be focused or that come out slightly off and gives you a better chance of capturing exactly what you want.
- Don’t delete photos right away – It can be tempting to delete a perceived bad photo immediately after you take it, however you should always wait until you get home and can view the photo on a bigger screen before making the decision to delete. You never know, what looks off on your camera or phone’s small screen could actually look much better once it’s blown up and you have the chance to edit it.
- Practice, practice, practice – The only way you’ll ever get better at taking pictures is by taking pictures. Eventually, you’ll start applying photography principles without even realizing that you’re doing so, and the quality of your photographs will drastically and naturally improve.
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to get great shots for your online baby journal. All you need is a few tips and tricks to improve your basic photography skills. And above all, have fun with your pictures! Trying to stage every photograph and getting stressed out when they don’t come out exactly as you hoped will only frustrate everyone involved.