Children can often be even more colorful than the most vibrant photographs. But taking photos of children can be a nightmare for an inexperienced photographer. Children tend to be controlled by their moods, which can often make them restless and mischievous. Nothing makes a child happier than running away from where they have been told to stand. And when you do give them instructions, they can often cry or complain. All children are different, but the key to success in photographing them is patience & understanding. Remember that taking photos of children can often be challenging even for the most seasoned professionals.
Once, I was offered the opportunity to take photos for a children’s birthday party. Upon getting to the party, I was greeted by a 2 year old child dressed as a princess. She was sitting with her friends, searching the crowd for something. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for a photo, so I walked up to her and complimented her dress. She refused to look at me, and I learned my first lesson about photographing children: Never intrude on their space. I decided to take a more passive approach and took a seat. While sipping my beverage, I remembered I had actually read a book about shooting children once before. My mind began to drift back to that book, trying to recall whatever I could.
Some Easy Ideas for Shooting Toddlers
Be patient, and never get disappointed!
Taking photos of children is no joke. Unlike the average adult, they are often moody, fickle, and prone to ignoring your instructions.You need to be patient and wait for the right moment. Do your best to understand your subject’s mood. Are they tired? Hungry? Frustrated by all the lights?
Getting a Wonderful Smile
Kids always like being approached as equals, so be sure to come at them with a soft-spoken demeanor. If they don’t respond to this, it is always wise to have some colorful toys on hand to engage them with. Try your best not to bribe or threaten the kids, as this will just tend to aggravate them. You can also try putting on a funny hat or fake ears, whatever gets them to smile. And when they do eventually smile, you must be ready to take their photo quickly. If all else fails, give the child some space, letting them control the situation. This is great if you are trying to get a natural expression in their photo. Every photographer who has been at it long enough has developed their own tricks for taking the perfect shot with a child.
Give Them a Sense of Freedom
A natural looking photograph is always preferable to an artificial looking one. This is why you should try and let children do what they want when shooting their photo. That being said, don’t forget to keep them in focus! Another tip is that children are always grabbing things, so if you have glasses make sure to bring a towel to wipe them with. And remember, a good photographer always keeps track of their younger subjects.
Background (for amateur photographers)
One thing to remember as a young photographer is the importance of a good background. Even less than attractive subjects can look fantastic against the right background. If you are looking to shoot indoors, remember to put something colorful behind your subject. The choice of background depends on factors like age, attitude, and the story your subject is trying to tell. Babies, for example, pair well with multicolored balloons. The objective here is to try and think of something unique. I once used styrofoam balls for my background. Pre-made backgrounds are always a great idea for indoor shots. If you do have the opportunity to shoot outdoors, look for vibrant colors such as green grass or red flowers.
Most photographers struggle to keep focused on younger subjects. And if you’re using a camera with DSLR & manual focus, this task can truly be a nightmare. To solve this problem, I suggest using the auto focus, which will help you keep a continuous focus on your subjects. Wait for a moment until the child stops moving, then quickly snap into focus. The best photographers can do this with ease.
Adjusting The Shutter Speed
If you are in a situation where your subject is moving quickly or shaking frequently, your best bet is to change the shutter speed to compensate for this. On a DSLR camera, you can quickly change your shutter speed from “B” mode to 4000. If you want your photo to have some blur effect, try lowering the shutter speed from 80 to 125. Most point-and-shoot cameras don’t offer a shutter speed adjustment. Instead, they use a built-in motion sensor to capture moving subjects.
The Best Composition
Lastly, framing is one of the biggest keys to a beautiful photograph. If a child is proving difficult, another idea is calling over the mother. The security of a mother’s arms can often make children burst with joy and excitement. They often share this energy with their mother, which can make for some great photos of a the pair. Using a close-up lens, you can frame this candid photo just right.