Photographing Your Family - Tips From A Pro
Last month I shared with you newborn photographer Beth of Barnella Gooseberry Photography. Specializing in beautiful props and backdrops, she shared with us how to safely and uniquely photography your newborn at home. Today I’d like to share the work of Miranda of M. Shanti Photo with you all. Based in Long Beach, California, Miranda is actually our family photographer and I love her calm and soothing aesthetic. Her photos breathe serenity to me, and her calming and carefree nature always helps to set us at ease, no matter how nervous I am or how wild the kids are. I wanted to pick her brain a bit to find out just how she’s able to capture a sense of fun and ease in her photos, and how you can too.
Where is your favorite place to take family photos in the home?
Finding the best light in the house is important for taking photos inside, as you generally don’t want to use the flash, particularly with babies. Assuming there is enough light, the parents bed is my favorite place. The family can all pile on and get cozy and comfortable. All photos courtesy of M. Shanti Photo
What type of background do you like working with? Solid spaces, or pattern and color?
For babies I think keeping to a simple background is nice, that way the baby really stands out. Mixing in textures from blankets or hats is a nice way to add detail to the photo without it being distracting. All photos courtesy of M. Shanti Photo
When photographing infants with toddlers and young children, how do you keep the session safe, yet carefree?
I really try to engage with the toddlers and explain what we are doing, show them the camera and what some of the photos look like. Sometimes having Dad be playful with a toddler while mom holds and soothes baby is a fun way to capture family moments. All photos courtesy of M. Shanti Photo
Any tips for keeping the attention of toddlers and young children during a shoot?
This can be a tricky one as different tricks work with different kids. I’ve put stuffed animals on my head, used potty humor, made silly faces behind the camera, and asked them questions about their favorite toys, shows or activities. I try to stay relaxed and calm to let the parents relax and let it be my job to get the kids interested in the photo shoot. All photos courtesy of M. Shanti Photo
Timing is important as well.
As a photographer scheduling a shoot around the best light is extremely important but finding a time when the kids are going to be in the best mood is just as important. Tickle games, giving mom or baby a kiss, but if a certain pose or idea isn’t working with a toddler, move on and try something new. Also bribes! I will sometimes ask parents if I can give a kid a smartie or small (non messy) candy to get their attention. All photos courtesy of M. Shanti Photo
What would be some advice you would give to parents hoping to get nice pictures of their babies and children at home?
When taking photos inside go near a window or open door try to get the babies and kids to look toward the natural light source so you catch some gorgeous light in their eyes or highlighting their face. Try to make it as fun and stress free as possible. All photos courtesy of M. Shanti Photo
Capturing Their Smiles
Also preparing them ahead of time is always a good idea with the older ones – giving them the job of being the big kid in the photos and the responsibility of setting a good example for the littler kids.
Sometimes it is good to just let them be kids and try for the less posed more playful photos, these can lead to more natural smiles as well. All photos courtesy of M. Shanti Photo
Pinterest is great as well, but I’m also always trying to learn new techniques. Practicing on my own kids gives me good ideas to try with clients. I love to travel and the rich colors, interesting people and architecture that I see when I travel is a huge creative inspiration. I’m not sure if it translates directly into my photography, but to me as a person for sure! Places I look to for learning include I Heart Faces and Elizabeth Halford. All photos courtesy of M. Shanti Photo
Thank you so much Miranda for sharing some of your experience and wisdom with us! I’m sure your tips and advice will help many parents capture lovely photos of their babies at home! All photos courtesy of M. Shanti Photo