It’s natural: Everybody wants to take photos of their children and turn them into stunning canvas prints for their walls – as well as desktop backgrounds, print photos, and possibly T-shirts. We’re proud of our children and love them to bits, so naturally we want to preserve the memory of their childhood while there’s time. And there’s no better and more useful way to do so than to make those childhood memories into canvas art that brings them to large-scale, vibrant life.
That doesn’t magically transform a dull photo into something exciting, of course. Too often our photographs of children are tame affairs: The same poses, the same basic themes. To make art prints of children into something that really deserves a spot on the wall, you have to get a little more creative in your composition.
Creating Composed Canvas Prints
Most parents approach kid photography like big game hunters in Africa: They stalk. They follow their children around with their camera and wait impatiently for the kids to be kids – to run, jump, smile, and get dirty. Then they snap away.
This approach works well. You get naturalistic, fun art prints of your kids, and get to remember them as they naturally were – full of fun and mischief. But the photos captured this way can be a bit shaky and chaotic. If you can pause and consider for a moment, you’ll get better shots. Here are some tips for starting off on the right composition foot:
- Choose a controlled environment. Instead of shooting outside when the kids are at their high-tide of energy, wait for a more quiet moment when the kids are absorbed in some more cerebral activity – drawing, or reading, or even watching TV.
- Be unobtrusive. Treat the kids like wildlife that might run and bolt when startled. While today’s kids are very used to having cameras pointed at them, they can still be made nervous or uncomfortable. Sit back and let them forget you’re even there.
- Change the angle. The key to having some composition control is getting down to kid-level. Sit on the floor with them, not on the couch. Lie down. The closer you get to their eye level, the more powerful your composition will be.
Composing the Photo
You can keep the Rule of Thirds in mind, of course, when composing the photos that will be canvas prints, but more important than having classic balance in your pic is having some context. What is the child doing? What implements are they using? An isolated photo of your kid will make your heart melt – but it won’t necessarily pull other people in. But a shot of him or her bent over a table, furiously painting, with brushes and watercolours splayed all around them? Classic.
Composition isn’t all about balancing the photo – it’s also about choosing the details that go into the photo. Giving your children some context lends a painterly quality to your photographs. It changes the title from just Boy to Boy with Watercolours, for example, and that context lends great power to your images.
Photographing children can be the most enjoyable or most irritating activity of your day – but the end results are amazing. When you’ve got some photos of your kids you think have been composed well enough for your walls, click here and we’d be proud to turn them into amazing canvas prints!