If you’re taking pictures of your kids outside, there are a few things you can do to really make your pictures pop.
My first tip has to do with the placement of the sun. Now most people make the mistake of having people look into the sun. The problem with that is it makes people squint and often casts unflattering shadows on their face. Ideally, you should make sure the sun is behind your subject or off to the side. The sun will highlight their hair and you can use a fill flash to brighten up their face if it is too dark. A neat trick is to angle the camera so that the sun is directly behind your subject’s head. The rays will make them glow and give them a halo, which can be really pretty in a photo. It will also keep the sun from shining directly into your lens. You can also avoid dealing with the sun altogether by putting your subject in the shade.
Another tip is to pay attention to the background. The simpler the background, the less distracting it will be. A fence, the side of a house, the back of a barn or a span of lattice could all work as a nice backdrop. If you don’t have a simple surface, look for a simple landscape such as a field or a wide open sky. What you want to avoid is a yard full of toys, too many different trees or plants with bright colors, or other people running around. In certain situations, these types of settings work, but usually they are a distraction in the photo. One exception is when you are taking photos in the big city. In that case, there is so much chaos that it becomes visual white noise and has the same effect as a simple background.
My final tip is to actively engage them in an outdoor activity that creates a visible connection, which will show in the photo and add meaning and purpose to the shot. A child captivated by a puppy, a flower or a floating bubble all create the kind of image that pulls at your heart strings. You can get great pictures of your kids when they are playing on a playground as well. Have your camera ready, then call their name and snap it as soon as they make eye contact. It’s hard not to get a great picture when they are having so much fun.