Mom-a-razzi: Getting the Shots

October 1, 2009 at 10:31 am , by

Picture 2My brother, an avid photographer, recently turned me on to this term: mom-a-razzi. This is a photo obsessed parent who stalks her children 24/7 in order to take gallery-quality pictures. And I am guilty as charged.

I find the idea of photo studios very intimidating. The concept that my kids are going to be happy, on their best behavior, and having a good hair day when they’re in a strange place, at the SAME TIME (!!!) seems impossible to me. So instead, I always keep a camera with me, in my pocket, at the ready. And believe me, there are a lot of bad pictures taken just to get the one good one but when it all comes together, it’s like magic.

Case in point, two-week old Sophia sleeping with her Daddy (see above)

I had just finished feeding her in bed and she fell asleep. I could see from my side of the bed that it’d be a great shot but only if it was taken from above. So, I quietly sneaked away, grabbed the camera, and then stood on the bed over them.  I don’t think I could have styled the duvet with wrinkles so perfect. It’ll go down in history as one of my favorites.

Picture 3Picture 4Picture 5

Lily on the lounge chair
I love taking a series of pictures when the kids are in good moods. Sometimes I end up with one perfect one, sometimes none, sometimes twenty. This was one of those twenty times.  The morning light was great so I took her outside and sat her on a lounge chair that I had covered with a white towel. I had to stay close because she wasn’t a perfect sitter-upper yet. I got tons of good ones – it was almost too hard to edit!

My tips for taking great pics of your kids:
We’ve all heard the classic tips before (1. get down on their level, 2. get really close, 3. use natural light, 4. make interesting cropping choices, etc.) but here are some more this self taught mom-a-razzi has learned:

5. Make sure you clean their faces. I can’t tell you how many good pics were not great pics because they have a big booger stuck in their nose.

6. Our Photo Director, Clare, who spent 10 years doing shoots at Parents magazine says, “Don’t always look for the perfect smiling picture. Sometimes the ones of them playing quietly alone are the ones you’ll cherish the most years from now.”

7. If you want to get a smile: Rather than asking them to say “cheese”, which usually results in a too-big grin, ask them questions that have answers  with “EEE” sounds in them like, “Who loves Dora?” or “Who wants a lollipop?”. Chances are you’ll hear: “Me!” (I learned this one from the child wrangler who worked on our Jon and Kate Plus Eight cover shoot last December, back when they were still a 10-some.)

8. Make sure you clean up the area that’s in the background. A little imperfection makes it “real” but no one wants to see a pair of dirty socks in the background.

Happy shooting!!!

So, tell me…what great pics have you gotten over the years? Please share!

9 Responses to “Mom-a-razzi: Getting the Shots”

  1. Fun Blog, Sue! Some of my absolute favorite shots of my kids were taken from above and I just asked them to look up. I love taking pictures from quirky angles!
    Jen


  2. Steve (Sue’s brother) here… good stuff. Here’s another article on the same subject I just saw posted on one of my favorite photo websites.

    http://digital-photography-school.com/5-tips-for-young-family-portraits

    The most important ones from that list I think are to get down on their level and to take lots of shots.

    The shots Sue posted of Lily above are great and they avoid one of the big problems that I see in lots of photos of kids…. that they’re zoomed too far away. Go ahead and get in close. For some reason people think that unless you get the whole head into the shot, it’s not a good shot. Not so. For the shot on the left, the way it’s cropped works great with the space on the right side of the photo as it gives her eyes a place to be looking.


  3. Your readers might also want to read these tips I just had posted on a local mom’s website that are useful when photographing their kids: Children’s Casual Portraits: How to Get and Use the Best Lighting

    http://www.marinmommies.com/children%E2%80%99s-casual-portraits-how-get-and-use-best-lighting


  4. Consider heading over to flickr.com & searching GROUPS CHILDREN and checking out the photos people just like us take and post of their children. I love Flickr and put pics of my 4yr old there all the time. I am flickr.com/nooccar/tags/claire …
    Just thought I’d add that. ;)


  5. Thanks everyone for the great comments and tips!


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