Using available light to take better photos of your kids

Have you ever struggled with having too much or too little light? Learning how to work with available light is the first step towards taking photos of your kids that you love. With a little practice, you can train your eye to see good light vs bad light when you are taking pictures of your kids. Getting familiar with lighting will save you time and heartache. Nobody likes to miss a moment because of over or under exposure. Here are some tips to get you started.


Facing the sun can be hard on the eyes. If you are up against a blue bird Colorado day, have your kids face away from the sun and expose for their faces. This is an advanced technique that you will grasp if you practice shooting manual (see #7). You wont get complaints about watery eyes, and your photos will come out much better than if the kids are all squinting.

Guide your kids towards pretty light

Often times I notice that the light in our home is perfect and I just need to snap a few shots, but sometimes the moment is perfect and the light is not. Moving the kids closer to a window or open door so that the light will help you to create an image that you love. Look for even light that is sightly diffused and not too intense (morning light is often perfect). Open up your blinds and see how bright you can make the inside of your home.

Ditch the flash

Natural, available light is your best tool for taking pictures that you will love. Pay attention to the light in your home. Where is the best morning light? Where can you find soft, diffused light? If you are shooting outside on a bright day, ooh for “safe light” around your house so that you can avoid strong shadows and squinting. When you don’t have good light available, know how to use the settings in your camera to adjust for low light situations.

Use your ISO

Not enough available light? Bump up your ISO to increase your camera’s sensitivity to light. You’ll find that your photos may have a bit more grain (depending on the setting), but a higher ISO will reduce blur with in low light action shots and extend your shooting time when you are losing light.

Most importantly, practice with different lighting scenarios to find what you like best.

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