My 5 tips for taking photos of your children in spring flowers
I love this time of the year…when the trees are turning green and there is so much beautiful colour around.
I absolutely love using the changing seasons as beautiful backdrops in photos of my boys, and children that I photograph in my professional work.
Lots of parents have been in contact with me saying they have tried to photograph their children in the spring flowers with disastrous consequences, so hopefully these tips will help you! I will be using some of the photos I took of my boys in the bluebells but these tips will work no matter what time of flowers you are photographing them in…. whether it’s a gorgeous yellow rapeseed oil field, daffodils or a field of lavender in the summer.
1.FINDING THE FLOWERS
Well first things first, you need to find the flowers that you’re going to photograph in!
For bluebells you can see a list of places around the UK to find them here on the National Trust website. If you are in Surrey then one of the best places for them is Hatchlands Park.
I love to just search in woods for the best displays as these tend to me much quieter which is always a bonus when you want to take photographs without loads of people in the background! The best way to find these magical woodland displays is to ask around. I had heard that there was a lot of them in our local woods but I couldn’t find out where. So a few years ago I just went walking round there and asking people until I suddenly stumbled across them!
2. THINK ABOUT CLOTHING
You know when you see a shot of a professional photographer’s child and you think ‘how come their children are always dressed perfectly and seem to love the camera?’ Well I’ll let you into a secret, they’re not and they don’t! It actually takes quite a bit of planning and careful execution. I’m sure some children permanently look like they’ve just stepped out of a Mini Boden catalogue but mine generally don’t!
If I’m just taking candid snaps of my boys, then I don’t care what they are wearing. But when I want to take some lovely portraits of them like this then I need to think about their clothes beforehand so that their clothes work together and don’t clash. This might sound a little obsessive, but when you see the difference it makes to your photos, you’ll start planning their outfits every time you take them out on a little photo shoot!
When photographing in flowers, it’s also important that you consider the colour of the flowers works with their clothing. So I wouldn’t dress your children in orange head to toe if you’re going to be photographing them in the yellow field! I know it’s tempting just to dress them in white, but white clothes can often confuse your camera and will over-expose (be too bright) in the photos.
Of course, as a mum myself I know that things don’t always go according to plan! I’d got a nice shirt for my youngest to wear over his t-shirt but he refused when he saw his big bro was only in a t-shirt. Then my big boy (who normally wears anything I put out for him) was insistent on tucking his top into his jeans. So the first few photos looked like this…..
A great photo to embarrass him with when his first girlfriend visits, but the Simon Cowell look wasn’t really the look I was going for! Luckily after a bit of persuading we got him to untuck it.
I just went for some simple t-shirts and jeans in colours that I knew would work well with the colour of the bluebells.
3. SIT DOWN!
If you are photographing in smaller flowers such as daffodils and bluebells, get your children to sit down amongst the flowers (without squashing any of course!) It looks so much better than just asking them to stand in front of them as then you get the flowers in front and behind them. And if you know how use your camera to blur the flowers in the foreground and background then even better!
4. SHOOT LOTS
You can’t expect to just snap one shot and get the perfect photo! When photographing your children, many of the shots you take will have odd expressions or cheesy smiles. But you need to keep snapping away until you get just the right expression. (Make sure you sign up to my free training to hear my 8 secret tips for getting natural expressions from your kids)
So even though the photos above look like my boys just pose perfectly for the camera all the time, believe me they don’t! And here are a few outtakes to prove that I do have to work for those lovely expressions!
The beauty of digital cameras is that you can keep shooting until you get the lovely expressions, and just delete the ones you don’t want. (And please do make sure you sign up to my free training to make your life much easier when it comes to getting natural expressions!)
5. DON’T STRESS!
If you’ve watched my free video training, you’ll know that I feel passionately about parents staying calm and having fun when they are photographing their children. I know it can be stressful getting them dressed in the right clothes then getting them to look beautifully at the camera whilst sitting in the middle of the bluebells…. but the worst thing you can do is show that you are getting stressed about it. If your kids sense that you are getting frustrated with them when the camera comes out, they won’t be at all willing next time you suggest a little photo shoot. So even if things aren’t going as planned, tell them they are doing great and have fun with it.
And as well as the more ‘posed’ photos like some of the ones above, I also make sure I keep my camera out the whole time we are out and take lots of candid shots too so that they don’t think they have to sit and smile every time the camera comes out! Here are a few of the more candid shots I took of them on our walk in the woods that day.
And if they are old enough to be bribed, it’s always worth telling them they get a little reward at the end. With my boys I promised them a lolly out of my camera bag, but if you are a more responsible parent than me maybe you can get away with bribing them with some strawberries or a trip to the park! Here they are with their reward for letting me take lots of lovely photos of them…
I hope you found this useful and manage to capture some gorgeous photos of your children in the spring flowers
And if you want to appear in the photos with your children, why not invest in a professional photographer and take the stress out of it for you! I run mini sessions a few times each year which are a great opportunity to make sure you are in some photos with your family. Make sure you have signed up to my mini session VIP list (you’ll find it at the bottom right of my photography website) to be the first to hear about them.
For more tips on photographing your children, make sure you sign up to my training VIP list and you’ll be sent photography tips like this straight to your inbox.
And if you want to learn more about how to take gorgeous photos of your family (and finally get to grips with that fancy camera) then join us on one of my photography workshops in Surrey.
I hope you get some great photos in the flowers!
Vicki Knights is one of the leading family photographers in the UK and started running her popular 'Photography for Parents' workshops in 2010 (the first of its kind in the UK!)