Children may be the most photographed subjects, and also the cutest, but they can be the most difficult to capture in a quality picture. They can be elusive, uninterested and often uncooperative – but that doesn’t mean you should be satisfied with any old happy snap.
Getting the most out of children’s photography has nothing to do with the quality of the digital cameras you use. Rather, it is has everything to do with how the photographer approaches their subjects and how they interact with them. Patience, perseverance and a friendly approach will mean you get good photos quicker and with a minimum of fuss.
Keep these tips in mind to ensure your portfolio is full of memories that will last a lifetime.
Shoot candid: Posed photos, particularly with younger children, are going to be hard to get. Kids simply won’t stay still long enough. And asking them to say “cheese” is likely to get all manner of funny faces. The best bet is to take photos when they don’t expect it. Wait until they are doing their favourite activity to capture their genuine expressions. If it’s a child’s birthday, take photos as they open their presents rather than get them to hold it up for you after it is unwrapped. The results will be far more genuine.
Take lots of photos: If your camera has a continuous shoot option, use it. Many brands, such as Canon cameras, will fire off three frames in quick succession, meaning the chances of getting the right shot increase markedly. An added bonus is that you will get some great sequences of shots that will look impressive side-by-side in a photo frame. If you do manage to get lots of images, resist the temptation to delete them off the camera. Wait until they are downloaded onto your computer before deciding they belong in the bin – ordinary images can still be turned into great pictures with some work using a photo editing program.
Get down on their level: If it’s little kids you are taking photos of, kneel down. If it’s babies, lie on the floor with them while they enjoy some tummy time. As a general rule your images are going to turn out better if you are on the same level as your subject, but there will be times where changing the perspective can have a creative effect.
Watch the background: Before taking any photos, check the background. You don’t want anything in the frame that is going to take the attention away from the subject. If possible, change your angle or perspective to eliminate ugly backgrounds. Better still, see if you can get your subject in front of something more appealing, such as the garden outside.
Use your charms: The biggest thing is to be friendly. Kids will respond much better to someone who is speaking to them rather than speaking at them. Grumpy grown-ups will not get good photos – happy, positive photographers will always get a better result. So don’t be pushy, be persuasive instead.