Spending sunny days outside with your kids makes for some pretty good photo ops, but don't bore your Facebook friends with generic pictures. We enlisted the help of Brooklyn-based children's photographer Kimberly Houston, who happens to be married to this paper's news editor. You can see some of her work at babiesinbrooklyn.com.We asked her how she comes up with her ideas, plus some professional photography tips.
We want to see your photos! Facebook or tweet them and tag @MetroNewYork with the hashtag #metroparents and we may run your photo in the paper!
What should parents keep in mind when photographing kids outside?
The time of day is incredibly important for lighting outdoors.Usually photographers steer away from taking photos at midday due to the harsh shadows the sun creates. If the sky is overcast, it doesn't matter, because the clouds act like giant soft boxes, and you get a great quality of light. You also have to keep in mind the time of day when your kid is at their best.
I try to be aware of my surroundings, and use the environment to frame the subject. I love blurring the background, so that the focus is your child. It's called "bokeh" and you get it by opening the aperture in your camera's lens. It works best with highlights in the background, but even a colorful ice cream truck in soft focus can work wonders as a background.
How do you capture a great candid shot?
I always try to anticipate things that kids might do and have the camera ready. If you know your child loves playing in splash pads - and there aren't many kids who don't - and there's a pretty good chance they'll run into it if given the chance, then let them. Take that opportunity to get some fantastic shots.
What's the trick to posing infants?
Patience. There's a lot of waiting when taking photos of newborns so that they're content after being fed, burped, changed and well-rested. They're total divas. That's not to say that you can't get a great photo of a fussy baby. But it's not a cute cuddly kind of picture.
How do you come up with creative ideas and not ones that look totally cheesy?
I usually try to find props that are true to that family. So, if I'm taking photographs of children in a home setting, I ask to use the kid's toys. I think it becomes cheesy when the prop doesn't go with the family you are taking photos of, and you can tell it's artificial.
What's the most important thing to keep in mind when taking photos of kids?
Kids - and adults as well - really do reflect what you put out there. If you're having a good time and laughing and smiling, your subject usually follows suit.
See some of Kimberly Houston's at babiesinbrooklyn.com.
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence