How To: Take Awesome Photos at Home

I have a two year old and he does awesome stuff all the time.  

The problem is that most of these amazing moments happen randomly…not when I have blocked off time to take him outside and do a mini-session.  Although it can be difficult to grab a camera in time to capture the moment, these photos always turn out to be my favorites because they are true, honest, and give a glimpse into our life.

 Most of us are cooped up indoors for the winter so I wanted to do a post about how to get great photos of kids even when we are stuck inside.  I am going to show you some hilarious photos of my son (aka Batman) and then I will show  you some pointers about lighting, gear, and composition to get similar results.

 

 

 Here is Batman saving the City…I mean Kitchen.

 

Hopefully those photos got you pumped up to learn how you can take the same type of photos.

 

I used my Nikon D3s with a Nikon 35mm f/1.4 for these photos.  

This is a fancy camera and nice lens, but don’t be distracted by the gear.  I just wanted to let you know what I used so you can have a full picture of the set up.  I used the D3s because I already had it out.  What you need to take away from the gear is why I chose to use is the lens.  I chose the 35mm f/1.4 because it is great at telling stories.  It is a common lens used by photojournalist.  It is wide enough for me to capture all of my son in the frame, but not so wide that it includes our messy kitchen in the photo.  I also chose it because it can ‘open up’ to f/1.4.  

You can learn more about aperture in my Course for Photography and DSLR Basics, but for now just know that having a potential aperture of f/1.4 means it is great for shooting indoors with low light and it will also make the messy kitchen in the background out of focus and less distracting.  

 

We live in our kitchen so most of the time I find myself documenting our lives here.  It is helpful to learn which room in your home has the best natural light.  I have a greatvideo on using a window light that will take you in depth to mastering a window light.  You are looking for a large window and if it has a sheer curtain that can be used to diffuse the light that is a huge bonus.

 

Here is my kitchen.

window light in kitchen

Like I said…it’s messy.

 

The main light source is the window above the sink.  The windows are relatively small so compared to the second light source…a larger window coming from the dining room…it is more directional and a little harsher.

* It is important to note that I have no other lights on.  I am only using the light coming in from the windows to avoid white balance issues.

 In the photos below I drew arrows so you can see how I am using the two different light sources and how it effects the shadows on his face.  If your subject is facing the light source it will eliminate most shadows, but if the light source is hitting the side of their face it will create more shadows and contrast.

My camera settings for all these photos were Shutter Speed = 1/100, Aperture = f/2.2, ISO = 800

So just to recap on How to Take Awesome Photos at Home

  1. Find a room with a large window that provides great natural light.
  2. Use a lens that has a low f-stop number like f/2.8 or lower (if you have it)
  3. Pay attention to the direction of the light because your lighting style will have a great effect on your photo.
  4. Shut off all additional light sources to avoid White Balance issues
  5. Post your awesome photos on our Facebook Page

 

If you have any questions about this post just post them on my Camera Camp Facebook page.  If you are still confused by your DSLR and want to master it with our simple and short videos click here to learn more.