Take Better Photos of your Kids NOW! - The Harris Company


Take Better Photos of your Kids NOW!

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We're Makayla & Dave Harris - photographers + cinematographers, upstate New York residents, proud parents of two, frequent world travelers, and believers in the importance of both making memories and preserving them forever

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Take Better Photos of your Kids NOW!

August 31, 2015

Let’s face it, it’s impossible to hire a professional photographer to be on-call 24-7 to catch all of those funny, quirky, and emotional moments. Most parents just want to learn to take better photos of their kids during their day-to-day activities. So how can you at least improve your photos to provide your family with a story in the years to come?  KEEP READING!


  1.  CLOTHING. To start out, look at the most simple aspect, wardrobe. I try to avoid dressing my kids in clothing with words, large logos or graphics because it takes away from the moment & their beautiful faces. Also, keep skin tone and eye color in mind when you’re shopping, avoid fluorescents (it will reflect harsh colors back onto their skin!)   I love dressing my kids in lighter colors because they have light eyes, so it reflects the light into their eyes and brings out their beautiful blues (**thank you daddy!!**).   As our kids get older, they like to have more say in what they wear (especially my little birdie!).  I definitely encourage my kids to pick out their own outfits, but when we are shopping together, I make sure to highlight the textured dress that “LOOKS JUST LIKE ELSA!” instead of the one that actually has her face plastered on it.  (admittedly, I don’t always win with this tactic)

2. LET KIDS BE KIDS.  Forcing moments will never look or feel genuine.  The biggest mistake I see parents make is getting all worked up about a family shoot (I’ve done it myself!).  When you do that, you become stressed, exhausted, and your kids notice it.  It’s an immediate red flag that they aren’t supposed to be having fun.  When you start throwing in the bribes, its even more of an indicator that they should be hating this.  Instead of forcing gummy bears down their throats just to smile, get them pumped up about how much fun its going to be to take photos.  When I play with my kids, the camera is my toy.  We all play together, and the camera is there, always. Its not something my kids fear, its more like my favorite action figure or barbie doll, they’re used to it.  When your kids are used to the camera being around, they are less likely to rebel and you’ll notice it becomes much easier to capture natural, candid, real moments.

3. KEEP IT SHORT AND SWEET.  If you sense a total meltdown, end it and join in on the fun. After all, what’s the point of capturing memories if you can’t be a part of them?!  If I’m trying to get a photo of all of us together, I almost always start with a few “funny face shots”  just because it gets them excited, and its almost always followed by the natural smiles I’m looking for.  Once you start pushing your kids to pose too long, its a lost cause.  

4. COMPOSITION, SCALING & STORY TELLING – when taking documentary or  lifestyle photos, the natural ongoings of your world, make sure you tell the whole story.  A wide shot of the messy room, close-ups of their hands playing, the emotion/ connection they have during that moment.   The sequence of images is what brings your story to life in your family albums.  

5. THE PERFECT PHOTO IS TOTALLY IMPERFECT- if you’ve got a perfect holiday card picture in your head, forget it.  Recreating photos is awful & boring.   The best photos are real moments, capturing the personalities of who you love & what you cherish.  Set up a timer on your camera.  Put it on a tripod (or a table with stuffed animals to prop it up) and just let it click away.  The in-between moments are what you’ll find are the absolute best.   Make sure you’re present in the photo, even if you don’t look your best.  

For more tips on how to make the most of your family photos, please please please contact us to sign up for our first in-studio hands on workshop this fall (2015)!!

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“Makayla and Dave are exceptional at what they do. If you want your relationship, family, and self captured in a beautiful series of unique photographs that tell a story - that is what they will give you.”

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