How to take great holiday photos of your children…

I’m writing this a little late perhaps, as we’ve all returned from our summer holidays and it’s back to school. Unfortunately the blog has taken a back burner over July and August, it’s been hard to find time to sit at the computer and write. Never mind, there will be more holidays for us all. I’ll make sure I circulate this post again next July!

This is not meant to be an in-depth study of how to photograph little ones, it’s merely a few points that came to mind as I was snapping the children in France. OK, I was using my whizz-bang camera and lens, but trust me, you can use your phone if that’s what you’ve got on you – the same tips apply.

An overcast day

France was HOT, 39 degrees celsius at times, and the sun was brutal. One day, thankfully, the sky clouded over and it was cool enough for the children to run around in the playground…and for me to lie around in the sand taking photographs. For me, harsh sunlight is a right pain when taking photographs – an overcast sky brings such freedom. The light is softer, you’re not so mindful of ‘backs to the sun’ and nobody’s head is getting bleached out by the intense rays.

The playground was an ideal shooting location, I found the most perfect light under the pirate ship…

A sheltered alcove

Generally speaking, if you can find a sheltered alcove to position your subject, you’ll get a winning photograph. Most simply, look for a doorway, you’ll have no trouble finding one of those! You need to keep an eye out for a recess whereby the child is sitting out of the sun, their head is in the shade, yet the light is still filtering through. Easy peasy!

You do, of course, need to make sure all your subjects are up for it…

Oh dear! I quickly bought the baby some chips from the snack bar before re-commencing the photo session. She was much smilier on a full tummy! It is helpful if you can get a friend or family member to sit by your side and pull funny faces/play Peekaboo. You can then concentrate on pressing the camera button!

We were on a roll, so added Lucy’s siblings into the picture.

Such beautiful light!

…and then got to work on the other families. I find that lying on tummies is great because you’re able to position all children at the same height. I do like a cosy ‘heads together’ family photograph.

A quick snap each and they were free to run around again. With a little help from parents, we were able to get them all sitting on the seesaw.

You may think this is the shot that I wanted but actually, it was the individual portraits which I was after. The white sand provided such a good natural backdrop!

Overall, such a lovely spontaneous little photo session. Unless I make a conscious effort to take proper photographs, I find the moments…and the days….just pass and you’ve missed it all, especially on holiday when you’re so busy doing other things like rubbing in suncream, queueing for croissants, making cheese baguettes, ensuring your five-year old son keeps his armbands on in the pool, battling with the baby who seems to have given up on midday naps, hanging up wet swimwear to dry, sweeping sand out of the chalet, pouring copious amounts of rose wine…

Well that’s what I seemed to do on holiday…

So, in a nutshell, think shade and soft light, and you can’t go wrong.

A word of warning however, I did manage to break my camera by absent-mindedly resting it in the sand while I positioned a child. The buttons got all jammed up with sand particles and wouldn’t work. Luckily, we took it apart at home and gave it a hoover and it’s working again, great for me as I really rely on it. Just be careful with your cameras and phones where sand is concerned, and water too!