Capturing Your Children on Film

December 14, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Or in my case - digital "film."

I'll be honest.  I'm not entirely unique in what my motivation was for picking up the camera when I did.  As you explore the photography world, you'll find that the majority of female photographers learned their camera for the very same reason.  

It had been a New Years Resolution of mine from the time I got married, but it took 8 years and 2 kids for me finally to make it a priority.

So, where to start?  There are a lot of little details that go into capturing an engaging, effective image.  It's highly technical and takes a lot of time to learn how to use all the components.  But the biggest component is also the one that took me the longest to get and was a huge "a-ha!" moment.

Lifestyle, Children, Natural light, PhotographyDirectional, natural light

Light.  The type of light, direction of the light, quality of the light.  These are the most important details you will need to understand to create that amazing image you see in your head.  And my goal for this post is to give you a high level overview of the main type of light you may use and a place to start as you attempt to capture your life on film.  

Let's start with the type of light.  Natural or artificial lighting.

Natural light is exactly what the name implies - light from the sun.  This is my preferred type of light.  It provides the cleanest light and the least likely to give me color issues.  One of the best places in my house to grab an image is from my front door, as you can see in the image above.  My daughter was just learning how to sit and was waiting for her older sister to come home from school.  You'll see a lot of images of my family from this door.

The other type of light is artificial and this can incorporate many different types of lighting sources.  But they all include some sort of bulb.  I, personally, do not like this type of lighting.  It gives too many color casts that are too hard to fix.  However, there are times you can not avoid it so you should use how to use it.  

Photography, ChildrenChild, Ice Cream, Artificial LightSo many choices! As you can see here, natural light was not even an option.  But I wanted to show my son making the most important decision of his day.  Which flavor of ice cream he was going to get on that trip.  Even worse, the light was all florescent, which gives everything a yucky yellow tinge.

Children, PhotographyiPad lightFavorite time of the day...video quiet time. For this image, I wanted to capture my son's favorite time of day.  When we settle down and watch movies for quiet time.  As you can see, it was very dark and I choose to use the iPad as my only source of light.  The result was a very dramatic light.

There are times you may choose to combine the types of light and this can provide a neat effect as well.

Children, PhotographyCombination natural and artificial lightiPad time on the stairs

I found my daughter laying on the steps and watching her iPad one day.  I'll never know why she chose this spot but I liked the way the light was coming in from the window behind her and the iPad was lighting her face.

As I said above, my main goal with this blog was to give you a basic starting point in understanding light.  There are a ton of great resources out there that go into even more detail, but are a bit more advanced.  One of my favorite places to learn from is Clickin' Moms and they have a great overview of the different ways light can fall and how to use it in your image.  You can read more here. 

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