Photographing children

Every parent, grandparent, aunt and uncle wants great photos of their little pride and joy (even if they are terrors sometimes!). But as we know, children aren’t always the most cooperative models. Here are our professional photography tips for taking natural photos of kids which really capture their personality.

1. Take your time and don’t force it

The most important tip when photographing children is to be patient. It takes time to capture a really good shot and it often doesn’t come until the child has relaxed. If you’re taking photos of children you don’t know very well, don’t hesitate to wait for a while, taking the focus off the camera, and playing until they get over their shyness. Forcing a smile for the camera is not the best approach!

2. Have some fun!

Create a fun setting. Put your child before a mirror, on a swing or in the sink. Pull a silly face or give them a toy to play with. In short, make sure your child has fun! Children are naturally playful and you should embrace this as a photographer. The most beautiful portrait photos are the ‘real’ ones that really capture the child’s character. Using a delay can be handy as they won’t know the photo is being taken.
Example: This photo was captured at just the right moment! Often this means sitting and waiting or snapping a lot of photos until you manage to get the perfect shot.

3. The perfect portrait

Think about the background and the lighting of your photos. A busy background is often disruptive and distracts the attention of the viewer. With a quiet background the child gets all the attention they deserve! Choose a nice, natural light to avoid dark photos and ugly shadows. Making your photos outside or near a window, for example, will help achieve this. For best results, always have your model face toward the light source. In a location that has little light? Raise the ISO to 400, 800 or 1600. Try to avoid the flash, as this may frighten children.
Example: This is how it should look! The shot of this girl is nice and simple, highlighting her beautiful natural smile. The photographer has deliberately opted for a quiet background without disturbing elements. The photographer takes the shot a sufficient distance from the child (1 to 2 meters), providing a nice background blur and taking full advantage of the beautiful natural light.

4. Shoot at eye level

Getting down to a child’s level is a good idea for a number of reasons: you avoid a bird’s-eye perspective on all your photos the child is more comfortable when you’re down at their level it’s easier to make eye contact and create a more engaged photo
Example: The photographer of this photo dropped down to their knees to capture this shot. This in turn led the child to drop to her knees, resulting in a spontaneous and adorable photo!

5. Experiment with angles and cropping

Don’t be afraid to experiment when taking photos of your child. Try various angles and crop to different shapes and sizes. Keep playing around and you’ll find lots of things that work for you. A short series of photos of your child is fun too and can be a great way to tell a little story.
Example: This photo has been cropped at a fun angle which conveys the playfulness of the situation. The use of colour also adds to its vibrancy.
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