How to take better photos of kids
Posted by Shootability on January 03, 2014
Getting great photos of kids can be HARD! your own children is even harder when they’re sick of having that camera in their face all day so I thought I’d share a few tips to make it easier.
1. Kids don’t do fake well. If you try to get them to sit and pose and smile on command you’re either going to get those cheesy grins and forced expressions or they’ll become shy, teary and refuse to look at you at all. There’s nothing better than a genuine smile, a great big laugh and a child who is fully present in the moment. Make them laugh, sing and dance, make a complete fool of yourself and ENCOURAGE the silliness. Turn your photoshoot into a play session and capture the realness instead of trying to make them into something they’re not. If you want a natural, real smile don’t say cheese! make a joke, tell them you’ll tickle them, get a toy to balance on your head, anything that really engages them and makes them give you those genuine expressions. Get a serious, inquisitive expression straight down the barrel of your lens by asking if they see their favourite character in your camera, tell them a fairy lives in there or a monkey and wait for them to look then click (they’ll almost always find them too and tell you things you never knew about those creatures in your camera). For older children ask questions about school, their friends etc then throw in a silly one like “who has stinkier feet, Mum or Dad?”, tell them about your own favourite school subjects, get to know them and give them a chance to relax.
2. Don’t forget the little things. Your babies won’t be babies forever and those pudgy little hands and feet will grow and change before you know it. Take the time to really look at them and capture the small details that you’d otherwise forget.
3. Capture moments and memories not just backdrops and fancy clothes. If you’re a preofessional photographer, or hoping to be one, it can be too easy to get caught up in trying to make every photo perfect. Take a step back, see the beauty in the everyday and don’t miss out on living your life. Take lots of snapshots, play with your children and have fun, those are the photos you’ll still be looking at in years to come even if they’re not technically perfect. When they won’t do what you ask them to take it as a challenge and try not to become frustrated. Include the things that matter – favourite toys, people and places are what memories are made of.
4. Light, light and more light. If you don’t have enough light inside try to move them near a big window rather than switching on the flash. Outside photos are best taken at the start and the end of the day rather than in the middle when the sun is high and bright. If you’re outside and the sun is really harsh more to an area of shade (not dappled light) and try to get them towards the edge of the shaded area looking out, watch for the sparkle in their eye, when you see that it’s the right spot. Good light can make or break a photo but you can’t expect kids to stand and pose in just the right spot either. The best you can do is get them in the right area and them interact with them, call them to get them to look the way that makes their eyes twinkle, move yourself to get them in the best light but let them guide their own play.
5. Get down to their level. If you’re always standing up and shooting down on kids you’re never going to truly capture what makes them unique. Standing over them is intimidating and doesn’t encourage those gorgeous natural moments to shine through. Get down and play with them, see the world through their eyes and capture the natural wonder of childhood.
6. Back up and zoom in. If they don’t want to look at you and seem shy or just not interested that day back up! get out of their space and let them go about their business. From a distance you can capture them at play, moments of quiet contemplation and natural, unstaged moments, where they’re not self-concious and stiff.
Jess Crump – September 02, 2010
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