Photographing children is hard. My parents did not take many photos of us when we were little but I really wish there were more photos in the family album, as a lot of these memories captured are ones which I was too young to recall. I love hearing the stories about our childhood photos, seeing the surrounds of the places we explored, seeing the things we had got up to and slowly turning the pages of our family albums. Today we have the convenience of our digital cameras and mobiles, but I can only imagine how much more difficult it would have been for my parents to capture us with film! I also never knew how challenging toddlers were to photograph until I had one of my own! I have been lucky enough to have been able to take lots of portraiture of my son and have truly cherished looking back on the photos (my favourites so far are at the end of this blog). So, here are my five tips on photographing children.
Photographing in natural light like near a window or outdoors will provide clearer images for moving subjects. We always try to take our photos outdoors as it gives us the opportunity to get out of the house, get some fresh air, lets children explore and burn off that excess energy. Ideally you want to shoot away from the sun and not into it. A little tip that I have for finding where the sun is shining is holding up your palm in front of you, if your palm has the sun on it, then keep moving in a circle until you see no sun on your hand and that is the optimal place to take your photo. Choosing the time of the day to photograph is really important as well. You will hardly see us take photos at midday when the harsh light is shining but if you need to take photos when the sun is blasting, find shady areas like under trees. Playing around with light also makes for really interesting photographs so don’t be afraid to experiment.
2. Blast Mode
Children are not dolls – constantly on the move and unpredictable! In the digital age, most cameras and phones have a ‘blast mode’ where multiple frames will be taken within seconds. Use the fastest mode available. This will maximise your chances to get a good photo. It is better to have lots of photos options to delete than missing the chance for a photo.
3. Don’t force it
Make the photo shoot fun! I have seen parents telling their kids sternly and sometimes even angrily “sit down, smile and I’ll give you a chocolate after” and although many mums do this and laugh, when you see a stranger in the flesh do it, its cringeworthy. I feel like there is nothing worse than forcing someone to do something that they just don’t want to. Instead, take the kids to their favourite place like the park, beach, baby chino cafe or even their grandparents. Have fun and be silly. Don’t force fake smiles – not all photos have to be of the children smiling and I often find the most beautiful photos, are the ones where children are shot as they are naturally as we remember them at that time. Even take the kids out for a special treat after the shoot like having an ice-cream.
4. Eye Level photography
We want to tell a story in the perspective of the subject. Squat down to the eye level for you child to take the photo. This is such a simple way to improve your photos!
5. Be Prepared
This is absolutely my most important tip! There have been numerous occasions where it has taken me ages to get out of the house and then realising that I had forgotten something! Make sure your phone or camera is charged, you have the memory card, the tripod is packed and snacks are in the bag. If you are photographing products for a business, make sure you bring all the products that you need to photograph. One tip for photographing clothing is changing the child when you arrive at the destination as accidents can happen on the way and clothes get creased.