Tips for photographing kids in nature

Golden hour

They don't call it the magic hour for nothing. It is truly gorgeous and makes for beautiful soft lighting and golden tones in your photos. This is the only time I will shoot; and when you start to shoot at golden hour and see the difference in your photos, you will too! This time works well for kids too because it doesn't interfere with nap time.

Golden hour is one hour prior to sunset or one hour after sunrise.

* Know your location to ensure the perfect spots to get that beautiful sun flare in your photos.

* Be sure to plan for drive time, you don't want to miss the short window

* Be aware of the location of the sunset and sunrise, whether the location is facing the East or West.

* Stick around and see the gorgeous colors of the sunset which also makes for interesting beautiful photos.

Skip the "cheese"

The temptation is to always stop your kids and pose them for pictures, but you will have better more memorable pictures if you shoot candidly.

Try to back up and watch; let them do their thing and be ready to click when the time is right.

* Posing them or disturbing them will cause more stiff pictures and forced smiles that don't always look the best.

Capture emotion

I don't know how many times my kids looked at me with pure annoyance and to be honest those close up pictures are my absolute favorite!

My daughter for example rarely looks at the camera and smiles but that's ok with me. Her photos show her true personality (one tough cookie) and the ones that are all smiles come from a pure fun place and makes them that much more special.

* Raw emotion tells a story

* Sit focused on your child for a while until you get the shot you are looking for or until they make eye contact. Great pictures take patience and time!

Fast shutter speed

To get sharp images and freeze motion you need to up your shutter speed. Be sure your speed is above 1/200. Anything below that and your pictures may very well turn out blurry and that perfect capture might be ruined.

* If you don't shoot in manual put your camera on "sports" mode.

* Shooting in manual gives you a lot more control of how you want your photos to turn out. Whether that's bright and airy or dark and moody.

Here's a cheat sheet for manual mode: