The thing that will really make your pictures great is lighting.
Natural, light from the sun, is the best kind of lighting. And you will get different kinds of lighting at different times of day. I like to shoot when the sun is about to go down. So there is still enough light but it's not so harsh and will give your pictures a softer look to them. I also love lens flare. It creates little rainbows in your pictures. You get lens flare by shooting into the sun.
Also when I shoot I like to be facing the sun. This gives good rim light (creates a separation between the subject and the background).
If you are taking picture inside get close to a window, open the blinds and try to get as much natural light as possible.
If you can't use natural lighting try your flash. A flash will separate your subject from your background, if your subject is close enough to the flash.
Or a high ISO. The higher the ISO the "grainier" your pictures will look.
Getting Your Kids Cute and Happy
First of all make sure they have had naps, are fed and in a good mood. This will make pictures soooo much easier. And your attitude will really influence how the kids feel. So if you are stressed out about doing pictures, they won't be in the best mood either. Just have fun with it.
One of my favorite parts of doing pictures is getting their outfits picked out (I'm a little obsessed with baby clothes). Have cute clothes on hand and a backup outfit. I usually buy baby clothes used at Once Upon a Child, Savers, or Children's Treasures. It's just so much easier to justify my spending! And you can find really cute stuff. If for some reason I'm not finding anything, Old Navy has really cute stuff and Gap will never let you down (but you will pay for it).
Next find the perfect spot. Parks are great and the kids will be excited about getting to play when you are done. I like my parents yard a lot. Also if your pictures are less formal (like tub time, canids of them playing, ect.) just try to make the area look decent so the focus of the picture will be on your children not the clothes all over your couch.
So in this picture instead of getting the towels in the picture that were all over the ground I cropped the picture so the focus is on those cute faces.
During the Shoot
My photo shoots with my kids are usually very, very short.
This is how it usually goes: Get my camera ready, line then up (put them where I want them), make loud funny noises to get them to look at me, put them all back in the spot where I want them, then when they have all ran and crawled away get individuals of each of them.
I try to get one good one of all of them together and one good individual of each of them.
This photo shoot was about 15 minutes long.
I love doing these little "photo shoots" but some of my favorite pictures are ones that are not planned and just happen on their own.
So always keep your camera with you!
I feel like this hobby of photographing my kids and family and documenting our lives has turned into such a blessing. I have these precious moments of good times and hard times that we can look back on. When we can see what we have been through together it makes us stronger as a family and helps us grow closer together.
The last 3 years of my life have flown by; marriage, kids, 3 kids! And I know it's not slowing down anytime soon. I want to be able to remember these times that seem like a blur. I want to look back and laugh at myself for feeling like dirty diaper and crying babies would never end.
Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.