VBS photos always look wonderful in the product catalogs. The kids are smiling, laughing, and looking at the camera. At a glance, it seems so easy! Thankfully, you can take great VBS photos too. Amanda Lansche, a multimedia specialist at CPH, has some tips for improving VBS photos this year.
Amanda’s VBS Photography Tips
- Get Down to their Level
Photographs look good when taken at eye level. When you’re photographing kids, try getting the camera down low at their eye level instead of looking down from above. This also allows the camera to see props and decorations from their perspective.
- Look into the Light
Lighting can make or break a photograph. If you’re in a room with windows, have kids face the window instead of putting it behind them. This will ensure there’s enough light on their faces and also on the scene behind them, and it will get rid of dark shadows and backlighting. When the background is really bright, the person’s face will be hard to see because of shadows.
- Make Silly Faces
When you notice fake smiles start to show up, ask the kids to make a silly face. Keep snapping photos even after they stop making those funny faces. They’ll end up laughing together because it’s fun, and they’ll wear the adorable, genuine smiles you wanted all along.
- Use Fun Props
Add color and fun to any photo with thematic props. Ask kids to hold Rusty the puppet, or a completed craft, or to play in the sailboat photo op. These elements from the VBS event will give your photos context and interest, which make them worth keeping.
- Get Up Close
Photos cropped close to the subject look great. Ask kids to squeeze together and get their faces close (maybe even touching slightly, if they’re comfortable). Try to fill the camera frame with their faces. It may seem silly in real life, but the photo will be priceless!
- The Candid/Posed Combo
Candid photos capture action as it happens, but they don’t always turn out. Posed shots are great, but they don’t always show fun. Capture the best of both worlds by asking kids to look up and smile while in the midst of an activity.
- Try Editing Apps
If you take photos with a smartphone or tablet, there are plenty of free photo-editing apps waiting for you to try out. Many apps offer quick correction tools, one-button filters for fun color effects, or collage layouts you can fill with personal photos. Use apps to add captions, crop, adjust colors and lighting, or share on social media. Apps to try: Instagram, Adobe Photoshop Express, Flickr, or Pic Stich.
- Take Breaks
All work and no play makes for a difficult photo session. Allow kids to take frequent breaks so that they can have fun at work. It also lets photographers to take a break and interact with children in a fun environment.
- Make Group Photos a Game
Sometimes it’s hard to take group photos. If you want an action group shot, put kids into two groups and have them compete to see who can shout a VBS phrase the loudest; then click away. Or, pick a VBS song and have groups sing and use hand motions. This gives you the chance to snap photos of each group having fun doing something. Get adults together in matching shirts or have them strike a silly pose.
- Play with Video
Experiment with the video setting on your camera. Take a short video of kids making crafts, singing with hand motions, or eating a snack. Ask them to share what they’re doing. Some kids might be too shy to talk, and that’s ok. Others might be more willing to speak, and they might give some comical responses. Videos are great to share with the congregation after VBS.