How to photograph children is one of the most asked questions in many photography forums. And considering the nature of children it is not wonder. Capturing good pictures of children is a very gratifying but difficult task. This article is in continuation to the one we featured earlier in this section on – Tips for Photographing Children
1. Take lots of pictures
Keep your camera at the ready and take lots of pictures, never wait for that perfect moment to happen or for the expression to get better. Capture each instance, the moment you have been so anxiously waiting may never come. So if you shoot a lot you will at least have something instead of ending the session with a huge disappointment.
|Photo By Len Radin|
2. Bring some Props and Gifts for the Children
When you are going to shoot children always carry with you some props you could use on location. Remember even though it might not be needed for a particular shot, anything new to them could hold the child’s attention for some time and that might be your chance to get a good picture, while the child is seriously exploring the new toy. Giving them gifts or chocolates is a sure way to get started on a positive note.
|Photo By Horizontal Integration|
3. Take the Parents into Confidence
Before approaching the child you wish to photograph first meet the parents, have a little chat, and explain to them what you have in mind for that particular days shoot. Listen to their suggestions; you should have the full approval of the child’s parents of your methods. If they are clear in their mind as to what you are doing they will be comfortable watching you do it and also be able to help you achieve your goal. It is also a good idea to let the parents introduce you to the children.
|Photo By Jane Costa Lima|
4. Use Help from Elder Brother or Sister
If the child you are photographing has an elder brother or sister, do not hesitate to ask them to help you out to get a good expression or reaction from the younger one. Children always have a special bond between them, unlike adults they could easily connect with one another. It is very difficult, say almost impossible to get good expressions from your subject while you are looking down your camera’s viewfinder. Having an assistant who is close to the child would be of immense help.
|Photo By Alessandropinna|
5. Learn specifics about the child being photographed
When talking to the child’s parents try to learn as much about the child’s behaviours as possible like what are the things they like, what is that they are afraid off, are they comfortable in the presence of a stranger, how do they normally react to seeing a camera, etc. Each child is unique and so is their behaviour, having an understanding about his or her individual preferences will help you avoid many issues.
|Photo By Murilocardoso|
6. Be ready for Sudden Mood Swings
Children are very unpredictable, they are prone to frequent mood swings, you never know when a seemingly happy child is going to cry or a crying baby is going to smile. It all happens in a split second and no one will ever be able to guess what caused it. So expect the unexpected, be prepared for any eventuality and plan accordingly.
|Photo By Alles Schlumpf|
7. Alter Your Perspective
The most common mistake amateur photographers do is to take all shots from the same angle. If you are looking for a different perspective to capture unique images that stand out from the crowd, you should be ready to alter your perspective. Get high up from the ground for a bird’s eye view, get down low and shoot, try shooting from all possible angles. You will see for yourselves what difference this one single tip could do to improve your child photography skills.
|Photo By Toni VC|
8. Get Abstract
Shoot some abstract shots, take a picture of the child’s hands, legs, eyes, shoes, a hand holding a toy etc. get creative and mix up your shots, this could add both variety and interest to your shots.
|Photo By Lubs Mary|
9. Include Others
Include the child’s parents, siblings, relatives or friends in some shots to add more context to your images. Try to narrate a story through a series of pictures. Having a known person nearby also helps calm the child, you could also capture their, emotions, reactions and bonding to make your series all the more appealing.
|Photo By The Jbird|
10. Get a Flash
A flash could be a life saver in many situations, well I am not talking about the pop up flash that comes with your camera, but a proper dedicated hot shoe flash, if you could fire it off camera then it’s almost a godsend gift. You could use your flash as a fill source, to prevent camera shake when shooting at slow speeds, to add catch lights to your subject’s eyes, to create special effects like stroboscopic flash effect, front curtain and rear curtain sync effects, High speed sync etc. There are many ways to get creative with the use of flash, especially so when photographing children, to know more about these effects explore articles in this section – Flash Photography
|Photo By Pixel Pro Photography|
In the next article we will discuss about Photography - Portrait Photography - Depth of Field in Portrait Photography - How to Control it in Camera?