Do your pictures sometimes look like this?
Ok, I’m using a rubber chicken as my subject because he doesn’t move around, and he doesn’t complain (unless you squeeze him, then he makes an obnoxious sound)
You place your adorable child in the backyard in the sun, point the camera, and shoot. The background looks ok, but the child has hot spots all over him from the sun. Not a good look.
Here’s another try doing something different:
Now you’ve moved him into the shade and the background still looks ok, but WHAT, now your child is all dark and everything. Still not a good look. What should you do?
Let’s try the pop up flash
Now this is assuming you’re using a dslr which has a pop up flash. If you’re using a phone camera or point and shoot, they have little flashes which are even worse than the pop up flash. This looks kinda flat, although he is lit up to match the background exposure. It’s a little better than the first two (if you like the deer-in-the-headlights look).
The best solution
Here I used an off-camera flash to light Mr Chicken (I’m not really sure if it’s a male or female cause I can’t find any parts).
Now, rubber chickens don’t quite have the same dimensionality that a human has, so the shadows don’t show quite as well, but it’s still better than the other images.
So, you can get average or good enough pictures of your kids and our family, but would you hang a wall portrait in your home of Mr Chicken, I mean your family, that is just “good enough”. No, of course not, you want a beautiful, well lit, well posed, and well exposed portrait.
Another tip is to get on their level. If they’re sitting or laying on the ground, that’s where you should be too. If they’re standing, you may have to squat down some. Getting them at eye level makes for a much better portrait than shooting down on them.
Send me your thoughts or questions. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 970.884.5292