This past weekend, we welcomed December with open arms, full hearts, and a mini impromptu photo shoot beneath our Christmas tree. B debuted his newest Grammy outfit, a black and red buffalo plaid jumpsuit with bears (of course!) across the bottom, and I just had to fully document it before he outgrows it. Which will be in about 2.5 seconds at the rate we’re going! If you caught yesterday’s post, he also wore it to our local Christmas parade where he twinned with big sis, and the matching buffalo plaid was enough to make my mama heart pitter patter. After church on Sunday, with both kids in decent moods and cute outfits, I decided to do a super quick mini photoshoot to document the “now”, and to remember this fun stage that we are in, low key and low stress.
I love how this handful of pictures turned out, and it got me thinking about what my tips would be for taking easy at-home photos of kids. I typically prefer outside photos, and always did almost all of my sessions that way in the past. But with kids, sometimes it’s easier to knock them out indoors, in a room with great natural light. And, if you’re prepared, and utilize these pointers, they can easily go off without a hitch. Now, these aren’t the best or most exciting photos I’ve ever taken, but in a matter of 5 minutes I was able to painlessly capture a few very simple, well-lit shots. I’ve got a few ideas for more fun festive pictures I’m hoping to capture soon so I’ll be sure to share if they’re a success! Think naked baby + fuzzy blanket + Santa hat + red ornament balls.
Here are my tips for quick and easy indoor holiday photos of kids (toddler + baby).
- Use a room with plentiful natural light, preferably a room with 2+ windows. Shoot when the light is plentiful, but not necessarily the brightest.
- Declutter the area, and make sure your backdrop is free of toys and mess.
- Establish your backdrop. Christmas lights make a great holiday backdrop, either on a tree, draped, hanging in strands, etc. You could also hang a white bed sheet or blanket to create a basic backdrop. I always suggest going as neutral as possible, and love the look of a basic cozy blanket.
- Position your setup or backdrop so that the kids faces will be facing the window/source of light.
- Set your exposure and aperture and all of your desired settings ahead of time. Be sure to have your camera on rapid fire mode so you can quickly take a series of photos at one time.
- I shoot at 2 or 2.2 a lot because it gives just enough depth of field without compromising your focus, which makes it easy to capture those constantly moving babies blur-free.
- If using a nice DSLR, shoot on RAW so that you have the most control when editing your photos.
- Get down on their level.
- Use a toy or something bright to shake above your head to get their eyes looking at you. I also sometimes try to find something that play music or is crinkly and interesting for a baby. Toddlers don’t usually care though so this tip is mostly for the little ones.
- Change your angles – wide, close up, from above, details, etc. But, you’ll have to be quick otherwise those kiddos will wiggle away and you’ll miss your chance!
- Bribery. Think of a positive and fun reward for taking (and smiling!) for pictures for Mommy. We do a lot of activity rewards, i.e. “if you smile real big for Mommy, we can go to the playground.”
- Recruit someone if possible to stand behind you/just off camera to help elicit those real smiles. I know from experience that husbands tend to work really well! Ha!
- Capture the candid. Most likely, you’ll capture a whole bunch of totally fake smiles, and your best REAL smile will be from a candid laugh.
- Accept the fact that you only need one good one. The trick is getting that one good one as quick as possible.
- If it’s not gonna happen, it’s not gonna happen. Don’t get so laser focused on getting the perfect shot that you end up yelling at your grumpy kids.