DIY Kids Photoshoot: Garage Lighting

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I'm a mom, just like you. I've blinked and my 3 boys have jumped from babies to kids and I wholeheartedly agree believe that creating & capturing special memories together matters more than anything.

hi, i'm paige!

I know so many moms with nice DSLR cameras- it’s time to use them! Here’s a quick 5 step tutorial on how to take beautifully lit portraits of your kids- in your very own garage! We did this in about 15 minutes and finished up before anyone got hurt (well, almost- at one point my 2 year old head butted the garage floor….minor tears). 

What you need:
-A kid or 4, however many you have is good. 
-a garage
-a camera, preferably one with manual mode
Optional: Black sheet or dark, solid blanket

Quick steps to an EASY, beautifully lit photoshoot for toddlers and up!

1. Dress your kids in something without letters, logos or distracting patterns. My favorite go-to with my boys is shirtless! (the 2 year old even went pants-less, cause who really needs pants?)

2. Head out to the garage. (Yes, the garage!) Open the garage door and have the kids stand just in the doorway where the light is hitting their faces indirectly. If sunlight is directly hitting them have them take a step or two deeper into the garage. (You’ll want to stand in the driveway and shoot into the garage so the background behind them is dark and the light is illuminating their face)

3. OPTIONAL: Hang a black sheet or blanket behind them. I used PVC pipes to create a stand and used a random black blanket that had fuzz all over it- it doesn’t matter as long as it’s dark. If you have a tall SUV or van you could also just drop the blanket over the car instead of hanging it.  If you don’t want to do this part you can just take your car out of the garage and the light will fall off enough that it will still look black behind them. 

4. Set your aperture to a wide setting (to blur out the background) and your shutter speed pretty fast (to stop their motion). At 1pm on an overcast day, I was shooting at f/2.5 with my shutter at 1/500 and my ISO at 250- somewhere in this ball park is where you’ll want to be. If your camera doesn’t allow you to be completely manual, try the portrait mode. You may have to toggle through the different options and just see what gives you the best results- just make sure there is no flash firing. 

5. Let your kids go! We had blankets off the couch that we played peek-a-boo with, pretended we were in an ice storm and were freezing, wrestled (this is where the ground head-butting happened), closed our eyes and then tried as hard as possible not to open them or laugh, etc etc. The most important thing is to let your kids think it’s just something fun they’re doing, not something being done to them or forced upon them. Once they’re done, let them be done! Dragging it out or trying to get them to do anything too particular always ends in tears so I just relax and embrace imperfection. 

Here’s the results of our shoot without any editing…next time I should probably wash their faces first. Have fun and tag @gleanandco in your results so we can see how they turned out!

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