Photography Tips - Photographing Baby and Children
Photographing Baby and Children
The field of child photography is challenging but also both enjoyable and profitable - if you like children. Don't bother pretending, if you really don't. You may fool a parent - but not the little one.
Some of the most common techniques used in photography will not necessarily work when taking pictures of children. Telling a child to "freeze" or "hold it" will not make much sense to them. Children will often do as they please so it is the job of the photographer to anticipate what a child is about to do and be ready to capture it.
YOU can turn this into your advantage: Since children don't always do what you want them to do, or what you expect them to do (actually they rarely do!). A solution often is: don't expect them to become a cooperative little adult merely because you want to take their picture. Trick them - expect them to act like children. Don't expect anything in particular. DO this and you can enter the fun and profitable field of child photography.
Before You Take a Photo
Before even beginning a photo session with a child (or children), you have some work to do. First, you need to make sure you know your camera inside and out. You then need to know what role you play in getting the best pictures possible. The child or children you are photographing will require 100% of your undivided attention- you have to ask yourself if you're capable of delivering that. You won't have any opportunities for wasted time- a child won't stand for it. They have very little attention spans and what they do have, they will be watching you to see that you are focused on them at all times. If you try and get the pictures as fast as possible, that won't work either; the key for that all important photograph is getting the child's cooperation.
Know your subjects - With children, you must expect the unexpected. At different ages children are capable of doing different things. The more you know what they typically do during some of these stages, the better images you are going to capture. And the happier you make your clients - which, in turn, makes you financially happy.
Photographing children will yield a fantastic array of poses: you can expect multiple expressions, behaviors and poses all in one session. You likely will never get the same when photographing other subjects; children are unique in this regard and the more you know about handling them when taking their picture, the better shots you will get. Kids come in all shapes and sizes. It is important to know the child's limitations and not push them past them. Don't expect a 6-month-old baby to have the stamina of a 2-year-old. Learn to appreciate the differences in children for taking great photographs.
Keep in mind that parents can play a key role when photographing children. They will be able to tell you certain things about their child that can go a long way to helping you through the picture session ultimately ensuring you obtain the best possible shots. Given most children have difficulty sitting through a photography session, you will not have time to win them over; knowing their likes and dislikes, their fears, their favorite things, to name a few, can be extremely helpful.
Make sure your camera is at the ready at all times- with children, you likely won't get a second chance to capture something they did unexpectedly.
Forget about the use of a tripod in a photo session with a child- it will only get in the way especially as things start to happen quickly. Make sure your camera is on a fast shutter speed (to prevent blurring) at all times; you never know what a child is going to do next and you must be ready to capture it no matter what.
There is no limit to what you can capture in a shot when photographing children; it can be anything from climbing on or out of something, to taking their shoes and socks off. The more experience you gain photographing children, the more you will know what works for different age groups.
Child photography is a challenge - but don't worry sometimes it turns into children photography. Mom has twins - big brother / little sister - maybe three little cousins. The list goes on! Imagine two sister and they both have triplets! Other than the obvious difficulty of getting multiple little subjects in any semblance of position, conducive to a memorable photo you need to bring everyone?s eyes to a central focal point. Tricky, but not impossible. Adding something NEW to catch their attention, at the moment you press the shutter, can work. Use this sparingly, because when child photography turns into children photography getting all their attention on the same thing is quite a feat. The beauty of digital is no limits to the exposures you take and you can take a quick peek on the spot.
Parents can be quite helpful during the photo session. Children often are more confident with a parent nearby. Also, do not overlook the value of older brother and sisters. They have a relationship with the little one like no one else! Often they can get their little brother or sister to giggle, make faces, hold things and a host of other things that may be exactly what you need. Plus, you have the opportunity of including more subjects in the photos, which translates into a larger photo package for the customer!
As you advance in child photography you will want a lighting setup and a backdrop. A three light setup - consisting of a main light fill light and a background light - is ideal. However if you are just beginning you can do great photography with a lot less. Experiment, and add as needed. If you are using a backdrop keep the child at least four feet from the backdrop (if possible). This eliminates shadows and prevents the backdrop from competing with your subject.
The more advanced you become as a child photographer, you will need to include both a lighting set-up and backdrop in the pictures. Typically, a three-light set-up (consisting of a main light and back light) are the best way to go. If you are still a novice photographer, you can still take quality photos with less. You can experiment as you go, trying out what works best to eliminate certain things such as shadows [if using a backdrop].
Be creative when photographing children: go to the beach, the park, or the backyard. There is no rule that says you are required to stay in the studio. Taking photographs outside eliminates the need for lighting; as long as you choose open shade, nature will do the work for you. Finally, keep a variety of items on hand to further capture the interest of the child or children you are photographing. Depending on the age of the child, toys, stuffed animals, snacks, hats, mirrors and dolls are just a few of the items that can a go a very long way in keeping the child's interest. Use your imagination, the possibilities are endless.