Photographing children is always a challenge but the results we see from the photographers we work with are amazing and very inspiring. Here some tips to get the best results working with children
1. Let Children be themselves
Telling kids what they should do is, probably, not going to work. Letting them be free will result in stunning images since there is naturalness on their reaction, expressions and activities. The photographer must be patient and know that there is the opportunity to capture beautiful photos even if the kids do not follow what they are told.
2. Don’t get stressed and try to have fun as well
Do not photograph kids thinking that they will act as adult models. Kids are spontaneous and they’ll have fun, which is great because then their reactions will be very natural and that can help your photo. Having fun allows the kid to feel more comfortable and the results will be absolutely gorgeous photos with natural expressions.
3. Be ready for anything
Kids are highly unpredictable so always have the camera always turned ON in case they change their minds and want to do something different. Try to shoot with good light conditions so there is not the need to change the ISO or shutter speed. While they’re playing, watching or doing anything else they will not notice the camera and that is perfect moment to shoot.
4. Make them feel comfortable
Unfamiliar places are, for everyone, uncomfortable. If you want the kid to feel good at where they are, then it’s better if they previously know the place. Different portable backgrounds can improve the image itself and they can obviously taken to a familiar location for the child such as their home.
5. Get down to their level
Photographing from different perspectives helps create distinct photography. Usually, getting on your knees to photograph them helps with everything: they don’t look small, the framing is much better and you’ll end up with good angles. If you photograph them from above everything will appear very uncomfortable and the results won’t be as good and the child will be less at ease during your photography session.
6. Don’t make them to do anything
Telling kids to stay in a certain pose, to smile; to play with a toy won’t work well. Its best for you to let them do what they want to, otherwise the photos will appear very forced and that’s not what the results you actually want. Natural behaviour is something that kids specialise in, because their reactions and expressions are not faked in anyway.
7. Always use natural light
If you’re shooting inside home during the day, open all your windows to let the light in. This helps a lot because it not only gives a natural perspective to the photo but it also allows the shutter speed to be higher and, therefore, to catch any reaction, expression or movement that the child does. Using a prime lens like a 50mm f/1.8 is a very good idea for these type of photos, since the aperture is always greater.
8. Use the flash with care
Using natural light is always the best option, but this is not always possible so if you do use it then try not aim the flash directly at the child. It is better to point the flash to the walls since the light will be reflected or better than that use then ancillary lighting to brighten the subject. Always use a higher shutter speed when shooting with a flash.
9. Be careful with the backgrounds
Backgrounds will give a lot of information regarding the context of the image. But, when it has a lot of items, it can distractive and that will affect the final shot. Always choose the locations carefully, to ensure the focus of your photography – the child – remains the primary subject. Clean, simple backgrounds work best.
10. Don’t be too serious
Do not worry about what people will think if you play in the sandbox or if you get your hands dirty with paint. Just have fun while you are shooting as it will help with the children. The child will feel more comfortable and will enjoy it more if you are also having fun and playing with him/her. Make sure you capture every moment with them and have fun doing it.