It’s once again time to shed those sweaters, take in the fresh spring air, and get some awesome pictures of your kiddies!  The great outdoors has so much to offer this time of year.  The beautiful colors of the season, longer days, and perfectly timed sunsets make great photography seem effortless.  So grab those kids of yours, get out there, and make some memories!  Feeling like your pictures are a little stale?  Use these tips that the pros use to make your pictures look “oh so professional!”

Get a fresh perspective
Great pictures of children start by getting down on their level.   Don’t be afraid to get all the way down!  Taking pictures from your eye level will not give you the creative edge you are looking for.  To make pictures more interesting ,try some different vantage points.  An overhead shot will help you to create some intimacy in the shot, especially when photographing details.  Shooting up from the ground level will make your subject look important and mighty!  Kill two birds with one stone and hide behind something to get another unique perspective….and make your kids belly laugh by popping in and out, playing peek-a-boo which you shoot.

Shoot when the light is magical    
It is not by accident that most weddings take place in the late afternoon.  The last few hours before sunset are considered the “golden time” for pictures.  So take your kiddos outside during that last hour before the sun goes down.  Place your child in front of the sun and shoot directly into the bright light.  This will create a beautiful “rimlight” around your subject.  You can also create a funky lens flare using the same technique.  Also, try to move your kids the other way, and put the sun behind you.   Let that late-day sun cast it’s golden glow on your favorite little family members.  It is sure to make them look angelic and gorgeous.  Frame that moment and hang it on the wall for reference during their next tantrum!

Action, action, we want action.
Do you know why kids are so “spirited” and miserable during those portrait studio photo shoots?  Because they are BORING!  If you want to capture the real essence of your kids, catch them doing what they do best….playing!  Use your action mode on your camera (the little running man icon).   Or, you can get really adventurous and put your camera on “Shutter speed priority” mode.  In a well lit outdoor scene, a shutter speed of 1000 will stop your action and make your photos “wow” worthy.   Now repeat after me, “Yes you may go jump in that puddle.”

Behold the bokeh.
Did you ever wonder how the pros get the background of their pictures to be so gorgeous?   That beautiful, buttery, and blurry background is called “bokeh”.  It comes from opening up your aperture as wide as possible.  Use your “aperture priority” setting and set your aperture as low as it can go. Just put that baby in front of a tree, colorful flowers or anything else, and watch the magic happen.

Make a smart kid investment.
That lens that came with your DSLR camera….it is…..well…. not great.  For $100-200, you can get a 50mm fixed lens that will rock your world.  This lens will allow you to shoot with a wide open aperture.  This will open you up to much more creative pictures.  Say goodbye to your flash and practice using your camera the way it was meant to be used….on manual mode!  The 50mm lens will give you better bokeh, awesome lens flare and is great all around for pictures of your kids.  Don’t believe me?  Go try it out!!!