Photographing kids can be a challenge, to say the least. And saying “challenge” here can be a sheer understatement, considering how rowdy and hard to control kids can be, causing unspoken headaches and frustrations for the photographer. Nevertheless, these are challenges that can be overcome, with the help of these tips that would help make these experiences into fun and memorable ones for the kids and for the photographer as well.
1. Have patience
Let’s face it, children are not the easiest subjects to photograph. You can never get them to be still, much more make them act or pose the way you want them to. And there’s no way to say you can easily make them to do what you want them to do, unless you would be willing to breach parental authority which would be something you would rather not do. The best thing you can do though is to ask them nicely to do what you want them to do. If they won’t listen, don’t force them to. Be patient with them and let them. Eventually they will come around, so to speak.
2. Be ready always
Children are unpredictable by nature. Thus, you never know what they will do at any given moment, not to mention if that moment would be something to smile or cry about. In any case, it is always good to be prepared. You never know when that magical, photograph-worthy moment would come. And when it does, be quick. And that’s not just referring to you but also to your camera that it has been set to capture those quick moments. It would be handy to set your camera to burst mode to capture multiple images on the press of the shutter.
3. Get down to their level
When you photograph children, avoid photographing them from the perspective of an adult where the camera looks down on the subject, unless that is the feel you wish to convey. As a rule of thumb, it is best to photograph children in the same level of perspective as them. This means you have to sit, kneel, or do whatever posture that would allow you to photograph children on an eye to eye level. In a way, you are also letting the viewer see the images from the perspective of a child and creates for better understanding as well with the subject.
4. Use natural light and flash
As much as possible, use natural lighting when photographing children. Natural light helps accentuate the soft features of your subject. However there may be some situations where natural light is either unavailable or may not be good, you may opt to use a flash. However, you should avoid using direct flash and let the flash on the subject from a different direction and let it bounce off. Otherwise, this produces harsh shadows and the subject looks “flattened out,” making your subject look unnatural.
5. Choose your focus mode carefully
Capturing moving subjects requires the right settings for your camera. It makes it even more complicated when a camera has different focus modes available. It is important first to be familiar with these modes and for what purpose each of them serves.
6. Play and goof around with the kids
Oftentimes, as adults we worry about looking silly and that we may get to lose our dignity when we play with children. But in doing your work in child photography, you have to allow yourself to get into such playful mood from time to time. This not only helps you understand your subject better and discover what makes him/her shine for the camera, it can also help unravel some camera-worthy moments that would make your subject stand out. Not to mention, it also is an opportunity for you to relax and have fun in the midst of work too.
7. Let the kids run the session, don’t try and control it
As was stressed earlier, you are not in control when you attempt to photograph kids. So don’t stress yourself out in trying to assert control. Let the kids have fun in doing what they like to do and go along with it. Approach the work you will do not as someone trying to capture the best photos but as someone having fun like Simon Grossett, with the great photos you will be able to take as a bonus.