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Compositions to Consider When Photographing Toddlers

Compositions to Consider When Photographing Toddlers

I’ve decided to do a series of blog posts pertaining to toddlers, this one is about compositions to consider. As most of your visiting my blog are probably aspiring momtographers (that’s a word, I promise), I figured you ladies wouldn’t mind some toddler tips and tricks. The first post I would recommend reading is Photographing a Toddler 101 – it gives you the basics to capturing great images of your toddler!

I wanted to reinforce that the most important thing to consider when photographing toddlers is patience. They do what they want, no matter how badly you want them to sit still and smile! Maybe that’s just not my style – I really love to have candid photos. The sit still and smile at the camera just doesn’t capture the emotion I crave. So if you stick around with me, you’ll learn more about how to photograph toddlers.

If you haven’t already learned about manual mode, it’s essential! Especially when photographing in tricky light and photographing those fast toddlers! I have a new class –  LEARN MANUAL: how to take control of your camera (by clicking on this link and signing up, you’ll get updates on anything new to this course). It’s not complete yet, but by signing up for updates you’ll be the first to know when it is ready! Plus some early bird pricing (yes, please!).

check out my 5 Tips to Getting Better Pictures of Your Infant post

Compositions to consider when photographing toddlers

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

what is composition

I will briefly introduce you to composition.

Composition in any type of art, is the ingredients that make up something. For music, this is the notes that make up the song. For images, this is the subjects, objects, that make up an image.

There’s a ton of different ways to use compositional elements to make your image stronger and better. I’ll go into more details about all the different types of compositions below and why you should consider using them when photographing a toddler – they definitely add to the image.

  • rule of thirds
  • framing (one of my favorite)
  • scale
  • looking down
  • center
  • faceless

There are even more out there, but these are my favorites for toddlers. Now that we learned a little bit more about what composition is, let’s move on to how and why you should use these compositional elements and what exactly they mean.

compositions to consider when photographing toddlers

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

1. rule of thirds

For this compositional tool, you have to picture your image split into 9 squares and placing your subject on one of the intersecting lines in the image. Take the image above, for example. My son is place on one of the intersecting lines. This composition is pleasing to the eye. It’s a rule that can be broken, though. Keep that in mind. Knowing the rule, using the rule, and breaking the rule are all important in composition.

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

For this image, since my son isn’t centered between my fridge and my dryer, a center composition wouldn’t have looked as please. With him being frame the way he is, the rule of thirds lends a better composition. It pulls the eye right to your subject, and it doesn’t look awkward.

When I take a picture, I practice with different compositions to see which one would work the best. Rule of thirds is one I use quite a lot of! However, one of my favorite ways to compose an image is ‘framing’ which we’ll talk about next!

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

2. framing

The compositional rule of framing is exactly what it sounds like: you frame your subject with other objects in the frame. I use this technique a lot. I love it! Once you start looking for frames, you’ll see them everywhere. Trust me. In the image above, my son is framed by not only the door, but the window, as well as the light! Yes, light can be used as ‘framing’. Frames can literally be anything and everything. You can use other people. The side of the frame, doorways, colors, the list goes on. Below my son is ‘framed’ between the door and the wall. I would also say he’s framed by light, as well.

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

Framing is a great way to compose images of your toddler. It adds interest to your already cute photo. It draws the viewer in. It makes the viewer linger just a little bit. Framing an object is also so easy. Doorways are great, parks have a ton of framing tools to practice with. Architecture is full of frames, too! But there’s even frames in nature. You could frame your child with branches from the tree!

Framing can also appear to be a ‘peaking’ in type of scene. It’s great for sleeping images like the one below!

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

There are many many ways you can frame an object. Go try it out! You could even practice on something that doesn’t move as much as a toddler. In fact, I highly recommend practicing on stuff animals before making your way to your toddler. It’s easier to practice when the subject doesn’t move!!

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

3. scale

This one is great. What I mean by scale, is you take an image to show just how tiny your toddler really is. Like in the image above, you can plainly see just how tiny he is against that wall (he is also framed very nicely by the paneling and bricks!). Looking at this image you realize just how little and precious this boy is. He’s tiny! The best way to do this is to back it WAY up. (I would recommend having a helper to help in case the baby makes a run for it!). Include the environment in your image. This would be great to do at a beach, show just how tiny they are compared to the big ocean. You could do this at the park, the carnival, showing how little they are compared to the rides. This is a great composition to use on toddlers, because they are in fact, very little.

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

4. looking down

Looking down on your subject is a great way to photograph them. It helps with eye contact and getting beautiful catchlights. It also makes them seem larger than they are (so basically the opposite of scale!) I love using this technique when shooting toddlers. I think it’s very flattering on them. It’s an easy one to do, too! Especially if they aren’t walking yet. Just sit them down and stand (or kneel) slightly above them. Get their attention to have some eye contact and snap away! It’s really that easy. 🙂

This is great to get that eye contact and to also get a little bit closer. Details are so important to capture!

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

5. center

A center composition is a good choice for when there is symmetry. In the image above, my son and husband are ‘framed’ (another composition choice!) between the hallway walls. This pulls the attention straight to the center. Center compositions are probably the easiest composition to pull off, and one you’re probably already doing. Go a step further and really concentrate on what could make a center composition more interesting.

Center composition can be good for when you want to simplify your frame. It also can be a good choice for detail shots. Using leading lines to center your subject can also help strengthen your composition.

Be deliberate when you use center composition. Don’t always have center compositions. And when you do use center compositions, be confidant in your decision!

 

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

6. faceless

I think faceless images are perfect for any genre of portraits! But I think it adds a level of mysteriousness to toddler images. Plus toddlers have cute everything (I wish I had cute everything) and those details deserve to be the center of attention, as well.

In conclusion, your toddler is cute so any image you take of them is going to be adorable. But by keeping these compositions in mind while taking images of your toddler (or anything!!) it will help strengthen your photography instantly.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Photographing a Toddler 101

Photographing a Toddler 101

Whether you’re a new mom or an experienced mom, you probably know what I mean when I say: photographing toddlers is hard. Let’s get real for just a second, toddlers are constantly on the move! They never sit still! You can’t tell them to smile, either, they don’t understand it. #beentheredonethat I’m hoping that I can give you some tips to practice with and get better at photographing your toddler. Some of these tips might come in handy for the older ones, but for the most part these tips are strictly for those of you with toddlers.

Don’t forget about my new course coming up: LEARN MANUAL: how to take control of your camera (by clicking on this link and signing up, you’ll get updates on anything new to this course).

gear you’ll need

Technically speaking, you don’t need any special gear to take better pictures of your kids. Your trusty smart phone will do just fine. But if you’re curious about the type of gear I use to photograph my toddler, than I will fill you in!

My camera is the Nikon D610 – which is a full frame camera and I absolutely love it! My starting camera was the Nikon D5100 (linked is the Nikon D5300 which is really similar, just a newer version) and I would recommend that camera to anyone! I loved it so much. That is the perfect first camera.

My go to lens is the Sigma 24mm 1.4 ART lens. This lens is super sharp and one of my favorites because it allows you to get in close and get details shots, as well as getting environmental shots without being a thousand miles away. Since it’s so wide, my shots might make it look like I am far away from my son, but in reality, I am right next to him, making sure he is safe. I love this lens! I also love just how different each of my shots are when I use it. This lens is also great for indoor, documentary photography (which is great when photographing toddlers!). I really could use just this lens and be 100% ok with my photography.

I just recently got the Sigma 85mm 1.4 lens. This lens is great when you want a nice creamy background. I have yet to really give this lens a good review, but it’s growing on me! The downside to this lens and photographing children is that you have to be pretty far away from the child. When I use this lens, I always make sure I have a helper. One that can be fairly close to the child, but out of my frame, just in case. It’s very important to make sure the child is safe. Safety first, mamas!

And that’s pretty much it for my gear list. I like to keep it somewhat simple. Again, I could literally just use my Nikon D610 paired with the Sigma 24 all day everyday and be 100% ok with that. Find a lens that works for you and rock it! And also, smart phones work just as well. Iphones have great cameras! If I had an iphone I’m sure I’d be using it wayyyyy more. Just practice, practice, practice! That goes for any camera!

check out my Compositions to Consider When Photographing a Toddler post

Photographing a Toddler 101

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

photographing toddlers is easy peasy

Ok, kind of.

I feel like when you follow these tips, photographing toddlers is easy peasy. But, for me, it hasn’t always been easy!

I’m a mom to a one year old (as of this post date!) so photographing toddlers is fairly new to me. It took me a while to understand how to photograph a toddler. And I will be honest with you, it took a lot of patience and practice. And even now, I am no expert. But I now enjoy the images I get of my son.

The number one thing I can offer you is patience. You have to be patient with your child. Don’t get mad at them! Don’t get discouraged! They are, after all, only toddlers. 😉

my tips to photographing toddlers

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1. plans change, you can’t expect to get that perfect shot

If you’re like me at all, you probably plan out your photos a little. You probably have some sort of ‘vision’ that you want to capture. When photographing toddlers, it’s ok to have a vision, but remember, anything can change. You might have a vision of capturing a smiling toddler running towards you, when what you get is a cranky, crying mess who won’t move a muscle. Or who just wants you to hold them. Plans change. And that’s ok. The toddler is ‘in charge’ so to speak, when it comes to photography plans. Just remember to be patient!

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2. make it fun

Toddlers love fun. It’s like it’s a part of them. And they’re so cute about it, too! So, remember to make taking pictures of them fun. Don’t always make them sit and be still to get a beautiful portrait of them. They love to move and run – so let them. Pull out some bubbles and photograph the magic that happens (trust me, it’s magic). Let them run around the yard and run around with them. You’ll have fun, and they’ll have fun. Win-win in my book!

Also, making funny noises is probably my favorite trick for photographing toddlers. My son loves it when I make silly noises at him! He’ll make them right back and give me some really funny smiles!

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3. capture the everyday moments

Yes, getting pictures where your subject is looking at the camera is fun and important, but try to take a picture with some part of the environment in it. Take a picture of something your toddler does everyday.

Maybe nap time – try to take a picture of them sleeping! Do they always eat breakfast in their high chair? Photograph it (plus they are confined, high chairs are PERFECT for getting some of those portraits you really want…as are swings!). The everyday moments can really be quite beautiful, if you let them!

Capturing images with any older siblings is also a fun way to capture the everyday moments. I only have one child, but maybe in a few years I can come back and update this post to include a picture with siblings. 😉

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4. look for light – but don’t let it hinder you

You should look for beautiful light in all of your images, but remember one thing: life doesn’t always happen in beautiful light. There have been countless times where my son has done something extremely funny and cute when it’s dark and there’s not good light. I take the picture anyways. Because down the road, the moment will mean more to me than the light.

That being said, you should look for the light whenever you can! Photography is all about the light. Remember that! When there’s good light, there’s usually a good photograph waiting to be made.

Try to persuade your child to play in the pretty light. And then wait for that special moment to happen.

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5. have a helper

When you are photographing your toddler and you might need to be far away (for example, in the image above I was pretty far away because I had my Sigma 85 lens on) be sure you have a helper who will stay near the baby, just in case something were to go amiss.

In almost all of my outdoor images, I always have my trusty helper, my husband! He’s always there to keep my son in a safe place (my son loves to wander off). Plus having a helper will help you not lose your cool when the little one doesn’t behave. Because they very rarely actually behave!!

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6. put the camera down

Get your shots in, have your fun, then put the camera away and enjoy the fun with your family! Your toddler doesn’t always want to remember a camera in their face. And your husband probably doesn’t want to be the only one providing entertainment to your toddler! So, remember to put that camera down and enjoy family time! You won’t regret it. It will be worth it (just make sure you get the shots you want before you put the camera down!).

photographing toddlers 101

Would you be interested in a full on course of photographing toddlers/children? Let me know in the comments below! I am trying to think of some new class ideas. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by.

Letters to My Little One | One Year Old

Letters to My Little One | One Year Old

Thursday, July 12, 2018

To my little peanut,

You’re a toddler now. Officially a toddler. I am so amazed at how quickly this first year went. It’s already been a year. This time last year, I was enjoying snuggling with you. Learning how to be a mom. Learning how to breastfeed you. Learning how to comfort you. Learning, learning, learning. And I will continue to learn from you. You have taught me so much over this past year.

You’ve taught me all about patience. I considered myself to be a patient person before, but there were so many things I need to be patient with for you. The first thing I had to be patient with was when you decided to come to this world. I waited till my due date. I knew that being induced early wasn’t the best option for you, so I waited. And then when my due date came and went, I had to be patient. I wanted you to come on your own. You made me wait almost two full weeks! But you taught me that the best things in life come with patience and love. You were worth the wait! After that you taught me to be patient when learning new things, like breastfeeding. I am thankful that it didn’t take a long time to learn how to breastfeed, but it was something I had to learn and be patient with. Now we are both pros at it and I still love it. We made it a full year of breastfeeding!

You’ve taught me how to love more. I didn’t think it was possible. My heart has grown 10 sizes since having you. When I first saw you, I couldn’t believe you were mine. You helped me love your father on a whole new level. Bringing a baby into this world made us even closer. You show love to others that I wouldn’t expect. You help me love others because of this.

You’ve taught me how to multitask! Seriously, try cooking with a baby. Try editing pictures with a baby. Try writing in your journal with a baby. And this all comes back to patience.

You’ve taught me how to snuggle better. This past month you have become quite the snuggler! Especially with your daddy, which is always so cute when you show love to him. Side note, the other day (your birthday) daddy came home and you ran to him and he picked you up and you just snuggled him so much. You also gave him a few kisses. It literally made me so happy! You have such a big heart, my son.

I never expected to learn so much from you. I was fully prepared to teach you all about this life. But, I am slowly learning, that it’s a two way street. You teach me, while I teach you. And that’s how it should be. We’ll learn how to be a mother-son duo in no time.

Happiest of birthdays, my son. One year looks really good on you!

I love you so much!

Love, mommy

read month 1 here
read month 2 here
read month 3 here
read month 4 here
read month 5 here
read month 6 here
read month 7 here
read month 8 here
read month 9 here
read month 10 here
read month 11 here

Letters to My Little One | 11 Month Old

Letters to My Little One | 11 Month Old

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

To my little peanut,

This month was so exciting to watch you grow and learn new things. You have mastered the art of walking. You walk everywhere and you love it. I can see how proud you are of yourself when you walk. I love how you dangle your arms in the air and wave them around as you walk. It’s literally the cutest thing ever and I don’t want to forget you ever did it. You have also mastered the art of standing up from sitting down. Now you can get around anywhere. You still fall down…but you always get back up again. You get stronger every week! Pretty soon you will run circles around me…alright it might take awhile, but we’ll get there eventually.

You are finally starting to eat solid food. Right now you LOVE avocado. You could eat avocado all day long if I let you! You also love peanut butter. I find mixing oatmeal, water, and peanut butter together is one of your favorite treats. You’re definitely my son! Peanut butter is yummy! You have ventured off and now will eat banana, strawberries, sweet potato, crackers, and basically anything mom is eating (even if you’re not supposed to have it yet!). I can’t wait to give you cake next month for your birthday! You’ll love it. Trust me. I might love it a little too much!

You love to laugh. Seriously. You laugh at almost everything. And when we find something that makes you laugh, we do it over and over and over again so that we can see you laugh. Your laugh makes us laugh. We love it. And your smile is so handsome. I love making you smile and laugh. I do the silliest things, but I don’t care if I look stupid! You love it and so I will look stupid. Because, I mean, cute laughs. 😉

I recently purchased these spiky balls from Amazon and it was the best $12 I’ve spent since you were born. You love picking them up and throwing two at a time. You run around picking them up and throwing them, over and over again. You also love to throw them at us, and have us throw them back to you. You are starting to learn how to catch them, but that’s a work in progress. You just love to have fun. It’s adorable.

You love books! You will go pick one up and bring it to us. Then you’ll try to climb into our lap and point at the book and say ‘da’, as if saying, ‘come on! Read it!’. It’s really quite cute. I love how much you love reading. You will also sit there and look at books all on your own. Surprisingly, you’re pretty good with your books. You haven’t ripped any…yet. I hope you always treat your books with respect.

You still love your daddy. Which is fitting since father’s day is on Sunday! You could spend all day every day with your dad. You reach for him when he gets home. You play ball with him every day. You prefer dad to read you books over me. If dad is home, you prefer him. That is until you get hungry, of course. Then you want mom. But I am really not hurt about this at all, I love how much you love your daddy and want to spend time with him. It makes my little mommy heart so happy. I hope you will always love your daddy this much!

You love to dance! If there’s a good beat on, you are dancing. And it’s awesome. You don’t dance to every song, just the good ones. 😉 You sit there and just bounce your knees slightly, all while smiling and flailing your arms. So. Cute.

I am still in shock that I will have a one year old next month. How has it been a year since we welcomed you into this world? This time last year I was getting so excited (and to be honest, a little anxious) about your big debut! I wanted to meet you so bad! I wanted to see what you looked like so bad! I wanted to know if you had hair (and boy, did you have hair). I can’t imagine my life without you. You made me realize my purpose. I was meant to be your mom. I know I was. I’m so glad you were my first born. I’m so glad I got such a sweet and kind son. I’m so proud of you, my little one. You are amazing. You teach me so much every day. You bring joy into my life. You make me laugh and smile every day. I’m torn between you staying my baby (this is the last month that you’ll be considered a ‘baby’) and growing up to a toddler. They really don’t lie when they say the time goes by too quickly. I cherish the snuggles I get because I know one day, you won’t want them. But I will always want them!

You’ll always be my baby. Happy last month of babyhood.

I love you so much!

Love, mommy

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read month 1 here
read month 2 here
read month 3 here
read month 4 here
read month 5 here
read month 6 here
read month 7 here
read month 8 here
read month 9 here
read month 10 here

A Boy and His Smile

A Boy and His Smile

So I’ve been having a little bit of a blogging rut. I am still actively shooting and taking pictures. I am even taking on some clients. But blogging has taken a backseat and I hope to get back at it again very soon. I tell myself that it is good to give yourself a break. It’s good to take a break from the gym every once and a while (I have to remind my husband about this all the time – he’s a gym-a-holic). It’s good to take a break from your photography – it helps you really understand why you are taking pictures, what drives your art, and what really inspires you. Sometimes I take a break because I am literally not inspired. By anything. And that’s ok! So, of course, it’s good to take a break from blogging. I suppose it’s similar to writer’s block – I literally couldn’t think of anything to write.

So on to the purpose of this post – my smiley son! He now has eight teeth! It all happened so fast, but he is very quickly maturing into toddlerhood. And I’m desperately trying to hold on for dear life. How on earth did my newborn baby turn into a toddler? I wasn’t prepared for that. I know he’s technically not a toddler until he’s a year old…but he’s practically there. I can’t take it! But at the same time (talk about hormones and emotions, geez) I am so proud of everything he accomplishes. From walking to talking to clapping to eating, I’m proud of him. And I hope I will always be proud of him. He makes being a parent fun. I love being his momma.

So, anyways, he has eight teeth now. And what does he do most days? Smile. He smiles! He loves to smile. He smiles when he’s proud of himself. He smiles when he claps. He smiles when he walks to you. He smiles when he hears a good beat (that’s my boy!). He’s my smiley boy. And I couldn’t be more in love.

He brings me such great joy. I love him!

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I love this little boy of mine and I love capturing the memories we make together. Thank you for swinging by.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to my blog (you’ll get a freebie!!). I post creativity exercises, personal posts, client sessions, as well as tutorials for beginner photographers. If you have any questions, please comment on my blog and I’ll answer them for you!