Posts on photographing children and families
6 Helpful Hints on Photographing Children By: Lillian Lane
You’ve probably heard of the phrase: “The best camera is the one you have with you.” Nowhere is that more true than when photographing children. They’re fast, and if they see a toy or another kid in the distance, they’ll run to it without any warning. And while it’s true that you don’t need an expensive camera to take great pictures of kids (unless you’re planning on printing posters for their room), there are some tricks that can help make your shoots easier and more fun. Here are six things I’ve learned over the years about photographing kids and how to get better shots with them:
Get down to their level.
If you want to make sure that your child’s eyes are not just visible but also catch the light, you should get down to their level. When you are down at their level, you are also experiencing the world as they see it, and able to connect with them better than if you’re looming over them with a camera.
You can also involve your kids in the process by asking them questions or giving them small tasks or challenges while you are photographing them. This gives the photos that spark of childhood wonder. If possible, have them help with setting up equipment such as lights and lenses so that they feel involved and less anxious about being photographed.
To avoid blurry images when shooting children at high shutter speeds such as 1/1000 second or faster (the minimum recommended speed for photographing kids), use a remote shutter release instead of touching any buttons on your camera directly. If this isn’t an option then try using a smartphone app which has built-in timers or set one manually via custom settings within your camera’s menu system.
Use toys as lures.
Toy photography is a great way to capture kids looking natural and engaged. For example, if you want your child to look at the camera, place a toy just out of reach in front of them. Or if you want them to look at something else, bring out a favorite toy or game and get them involved with that instead of paying attention to what’s going on around them. Toy photography works especially well when there are other adults in the room helping hold or play with the child during the photo shoot; this provides an added layer of distraction and can make it easier for children to focus on something other than themselves or their surroundings.
Don’t say “cheese”!
Let’s be honest, “cheese” doesn’t work to bring out a natural smile. Instead, be prepared with simple prompts to encourage playfulness and the smiles will come. If you ask a child to give you their biggest three jumps, then photograph them just as they are finishing, the smile is natural, genuine, and the photo will become an instant favorite with the parents.
Give them options.
For example, if you’re photographing a child in his or her bedroom, let the child choose what toys are brought into the room. If the child is wearing a white shirt, ask him or her if he wants to change into another color. If there’s an empty wall in the background, ask him or her if he would like to hang up some posters on it. By giving your subjects choices and letting them be creative with their images, you’ll get better pictures overall!
Make it fun and easy.
The most important thing to remember when photographing children is that they need to enjoy the experience. If you’re trying to get a good shot of your kid’s face, but he/she is frowning or making a funny face in order to get attention, then what’s the point? You’ll get better pictures if your child feels like they’re having fun!
So let’s talk about how we can make this happen:
Try not to make them pose too much – let them move around and explore their surroundings. Remember this is their time! Let them be what they want to be!
Don’t have them stand still for too long – kids don’t like standing still long enough for you to take several photos without knowing what will happen next! Encourage movement by providing props and letting them play with toys while photographing them (or vice versa). If a toy isn’t available just yet and there are no other options nearby then try hopping along with the child until one appears again later on down the road… because trust me – it does happen eventually!
Don’t ask something of your child unless it’s truly important for whatever reason; otherwise he/she won’t hesitate going against what was asked earlier (even if only slightly). This could lead into an argument between both parties involved which would definitely cause feelings upset among each other afterwards.”
Incorporate an activity
Incorporating an activity is a great way to get the photo you want and make it fun for your child. The key is making sure that you have already talked about, brainstormed, and planned an activity that makes sense for your child’s age group. You can create this with or without props, depending on what you have available at home or in nature.
The idea behind incorporating an activity is that it helps relax and engage your child in such a way where they are having fun while being photographed (and not feeling like they’re “doing something”). This will result in more authentic emotion when they are photographed than if they were posed standing still with nothing interesting going on around them (which often leads to frozen smiles).
Take an action picture instead of a posed one.
Don’t be afraid to take pictures of your kids when they are doing something interesting, even if it doesn’t look like the perfect pose. Action shots can be more fun and candid than posed ones. To capture an action image, simply follow your child around as he plays with toys or pets the family dog. As you move around in different directions, try to keep the camera on him rather than taking photos from a distance or at eye level with him (which can make for boring images).
As a photographer, I’ve learned that the best way to get good shots of kids is to make it fun. In my experience, if you have them laughing and playing at the same time, you’re likely to get a great shot of them doing something silly—and that’s always more fun than a posed picture. If all this sounds a bit daunting, but you still want beautiful photos taken, contact me for help! I am available in the Oregon and northern California area.