Guest Post: Advice for Photographing Children in Nature

Nature child. Photo by Sarah Deragon

I met Sarah Deragon of Portraits to The People at an event organized by A Little Yumminess and Smitten Ice Cream last month. Casually speaking, making it look ridiculously easy, Sarah was taking photos with her big camera – pictures of kids running around, of us adults waiting for our ice-cream, and of the liquid nitrogen ice-making machine. Meanwhile I chatted with her sister who’s a mom of 2 and writes a cool design blog called Lucite Lavender
After the event, I was completely impressed by the photos (you can view them here and go “oooh” “aaah”) and I mentioned it to the Little Yum girls during a banana slug hike. “That Sarah girl, she’s gifted,” I said. They put us in touch. Sarah offered to write this guest post on a topic that’s dear to me since nature is my second home and photography my biggest weakness (second to tech-smartness according to hubby). Long story short – voilà!
Before you start to read her tips, check out Sarah’s awesome Holiday Cards 2011 Special if you want to book Sarah for your family pic. I know it’s that time of the year and many of us are wondering what card we’ll send our family and friends so they put it up above their fireplace in December – it had better be a good one! 
Thanks for the photography tips Sarah, I’ll practice them this week in the East Bay where I’m going hunting for hollow trees, candid moments and ladybugs – with kids.
Advice for Photographing Children in Nature
by Sarah Deragon
Does getting a good photo of your child in nature seem
daunting? It shouldn’t! I’m here to help you out with a few helpful tips. I am
a local San Francisco photographer and I take photos of children all of the time.
I mostly photograph in natural light, so I know what I’m talking about. Ok,
here we go:
Photo by Sarah Deragon
  1. Get a camera
    that you just love
    and keep it with you at all times. I am a huge fan of
    Canon Power Shots because they shoot quickly (which is great when you’re
    trying to capture kids cause they move a lot and fast), they are super
    lightweight and Canon has excellent customer service (inevitable if you’re
    clumsy like me and drop it from time to time).
  2. Read the
    instruction manual
    and/or watch videos to learn about the various
    settings. Sure, full auto is comfortable and easy, but why not experiment
    with the fish eye or perhaps the macro setting. 
  3. Follow the sun.
    Try not to position your little ones in direct sunlight if you can avoid
    it. Direct sunlight causes really harsh shadows on little faces. Put the
    sun behind them and get down on your knees if you have to.
  4. Be patient when
    trying to capture candid moments. I can’t tell you how many photos I just
    have to delete before getting to the one that makes you go ‘wow’! Snap
    away and remember that this is one of the benefits of using digital
  5. Place the little
    ones in unexpected locations for interesting shots. See a hollowed out
    tree? Ask your son/daughter to peek through the end at you and snap a few
    pics. Have them all lie down on the grass with their heads together and
    look up at you. Try a few jumping photos – those are always fun!
  6. Think about
    photographing the small details that will help you remember the day. Did
    you have a picnic? Take a few photos of the food. Find a new favorite
    hiking trail? Take a photo of the trailhead sign. Were there particularly
    fluffy blue clouds? See what I mean?
  7. Practice the
    . Stretch your arm out as far as it will go, flip your camera
    around, grab one your kids and say cheeeeeeese!
  8. Have fun!
    Photography should be something that’s enjoyable and the memories you’re
    making for your children are going to last a lifetime.
Photo by Sarah Deragon
Of course, I would highly recommend hiring a professional
photographer at least once in your life because it is a fun experience for all.
Besides, you want a killer photo for your holiday card this year, right?
Theres’s a ton of super talented photographer in the Bay Area you’re bound to
find someone that you just love working with!
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Laure Latham

Laure is an author, environmental advocate, blogger, open water swimmer and now mother. She's passionate about inspiring families to enjoy the outdoors with their children, learning to unplug and living a healthy lifestyle, giving kids life skills and exploring the world around us sharing Family Friendly, Fun Ideas for the whole family on Frog Mom.

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