You needn't trek to a professional studio to get great photos of your kids during holidays. Save your money for professional photos during the big holidays and take your own Valentine's Day pictures for cards, Facebook, or just displaying around the house. Your kids will be more relaxed with you anyway and you'll capture priceless, genuine moments with them. Read on for a few easy Valentine's Day photos to take in your own home that can be created for less than $20, as well as some tips for great photos.
Keep it simple
For holiday-themed photos, simple is often best. For Valentine's Day, you don't need hearts or roses to get the idea across. For this photo, a simple pink backdrop, combined with a pop of pink in the baby's head band makes for a beautiful and elegant photo. Keep everything else in the photo plain with a white shirt and a white rug or pillow. For a backdrop, you can use solid curtains, sheets, or blankets. But if you don't have the right colors on hand, making your own is easy. Get the look used in this picture by hanging long pieces of crepe paper vertically from a length of ribbon. Or use wrapping paper to cover a large piece of art board, or just tape it to the wall. You can also tape pieces of tissue paper together. To hide seams and create an interesting texture, simply crinkle it up!
Have fun with colors
Solid red makes a great color for boys and girls, while pinks work great for girls, and deeper reds & maroons look cute with boys. But don't be afraid to get creative with colors! Mix reds and pinks, or add in some soft pastels. Dress your little Romeo in a pink button down, or dress your little lady in a black dress with pink accents and some pearls for a vintage look. Use the following color palettes as inspiration for your photo shoot.
Use props and fun details
For these photos, a simple prop or two makes a big statement. Try any of the following:
- Red and pink balloons. Throw in a coordinating color to create an interesting color palette.
- A single red rose.
- Sweets, such as a box of chocolates, a heart-shaped cookie, or lollipop.
- A paper or foam cut-out of a heart (glue it on a stick for younger babies that might crumple it up).
- A red teddy bear or stuffed animal.
- Grab a set of XOXO wooden letters from your local craft store and paint them.
- Or, grab the letters L-O-V-E and take individual photos with each, then arrange all four photos together.
- Heart-shaped sunglasses.
- A mason jar filled with conversation hearts candy (Sweethearts).
- Transform your infant or chubby baby into a little cupid with a simple set of costume wings or an inexpensive cupid outfit.
- Have fun with temporary (heart) tattoos.
- Scatter rose petals around.
- Create a bunting with hearts or X's & O's on each flag.
- Get your baby or child's best friend together for a couples shoot.
Add a sign
Make a sign to include in your picture to make it really special. Try any (or all) of the following:
- "Kisses 5¢"
- "Be Mine" on a heart-shaped cut out
- "I Love You to the Moon and Back"
- "Baby's First Valentine's Day"
- "Mommy's (or Daddy's) Little Valentine"
Tips & Tricks
A few basic photography tips can make a big impact on your photos. The following tips can be helpful for beginners.
- Get in close! Remove distracting elements from the frame by getting in close, or cropping judiciously after.
- Get down on the floor and take your photos at your child's eye level.
- If you're taking your photos indoors, take them during daytime in the brightest room available. Avoid taking photos in the evening when tungsten or fluorescent lighting is predominant.
- If you're taking photos outdoors, take them right before sunset during the "golden hour", which is the last hour of daylight and is usually the most even light. If you take your photos mid-day, try for an overcast day.
- If you've got a DSLR, put your camera in Av (Aperture Priority) mode. Find the control that controls the "f" number and dial it down as low as you can (1.8, 3.5, etc.). This will give you the softest background possible.
- Separate your child and backdrop as much as possible, which will help in getting a soft background.
- Using a Point-and-Shoot? You can still achieve a bit of a soft background by stepping back and zooming in as well as using the above tip of separating your child from the background. You can also try setting your camera to close-up (macro) mode.
- Use free editing software (such as PicMonkey, Picasa, Gimp, or Pixlr) for subtle effects. Focal softening, bokeh overlays, and selective coloring are all creative touches easy to create with many free editors.
The most important tip of all? Have fun! Genuine pictures capturing special moments between your kids trump technically-perfect and staged photos any day.
Check out 10 Kid-Friendly Valentine's Day Date Ideas for more fun stuff to do with your child on this holiday.
Photo Credits: Happy Chaos Photography, Kelly A Read Photography, The Whimsical Photographer