Have you ever thought, “I’d love to experiment with ____, but it’s too expensive!” Well, here are some tips to let you explore different aspects of kids’ photography, without spending more than a few bucks – how awesome is that?
Tip 1: Create an Instant Reflector/Diffuser
Use a playing card, or white stock card, plus a rubber band to amp up your flash power and cut red-eye out of images of your kids in lower-light situations. Simply strap on the card so the light is forced upwards, rather than firing straight at your kids. If you don’t have something to reflect off of (wall, ceiling, etc.) then tape some tissue over your flash to diffuse the light instead.
Tip 2: Create Shaped Bokeh
This is really fun for Christmas, but if you have some white strings of lights hanging around it can be fun anytime to create really interesting kids’ photos. All you need is some cardboard, cut to the shape of the end of your lens. Then, cut a shape (star, heart, etc.) into the middle of the cardboard piece and insert (or tape to) the end of your lens. Us a large aperture (i.e. f/1.8) and your subject will be perfectly focused, but the lights, rather than being little blurs, will take on the shape you cut into the card. An awesome idea for Christmas cards, or to introduce a new member of the family!
Tip 3: A $3 Beauty Dish
If you’ve ever looked at model shots and admired the lighting, then perhaps you could give it a try with your kids as your subjects – all you need is a beauty dish to provide even lighting. Rather than spend all your hard-earned dough, try putting one together using a turkey pan (or pie plate) and some other materials around the house. Here’s how. The dish will give you great lighting for kid’s portraits, without breaking the bank.
Tip 4: Add Lens Protection
If you’re terrified of dropping your lens (or your kids accessing your camera bag and doing the same), all you need is a few beer koozies – available at your nearest dollar store. Pull them over your lenses where you are putting them away (or even when on your camera) and they’ll be nice and safe!
Tip 5: Make Some Fun Backgrounds
If you’re finding your indoor shots a bit blasé, or want to save this year on school photos, then you’ll need a nice backdrop. With some material and dye you can make your own backdrop – grab a few t-shirts too so the kids can have fun while you’re making a great backdrop for their photos! Tip: you’ll also find instructions for making a stand, or you can find a way to stretch the backdrop so it’s flat to give you more polished images. Not into dyeing? Check out the clearance section of your local fabric store for some fun prints.
Camera Hacks For Your iPhone
Let’s not forget that we can’t always have our cameras with us, so here are two fun iPhone hacks:
Tip 6: Easy, Hands-Free Photos
In case you’ve ever wanted to take a really steady photo, or a “selfie” along with your kids, but need more distance – all you need is a pair of standard Apple earbuds. When in camera mode, pressing the up volume button will trigger an image. How did we not know this?
Tip 7: A $1 Tripod (well, sort of)
It’s technically a quad-pod. All you need is two bulldog clips (you know, the black and silver clampy paper things) clipped to the long side of your iPhone and voila! Now your iPhone will hold steady while you take the shot. Use the earbud trick above to ensure you don’t jostle it when taking your photos. (Also check out dollar stores, they usually have some iPhone/Smarthphone accessories that won’t burst the bank).
If you have any fun and cheap camera hacks that you’ve used to take photos of your kids please share!!