It can be challenging to photograph a young child or any child for that matter. Many times they are afraid of you or the camera. Below I am going to give you a few tips which will help you make the process not only stress free but fun for both you and the child - and mom and dad!
Recently we met up with 14 month old Lauren for her Christmas card portraits! They turned out beautifully and not one tear was shed by child, mother, or photographer during our photo shoot. :)
With props in hand for little Lauren to play with and camera and flash charged and ready to go, we met at Mike and Laura's church for their shoot. They brought along Christmas ornaments and we just let Lauren play the piano, play with the ornaments, and be herself! She is so photogenic and comfortable with the camera which made helped her photo shoot run smoothly. I let her see her pictures on the back of the camera and right away she was trying to swipe the screen to go to the next photo.
Here are a few tips on how to make taking picture of young children easy and natural.
1. Let them be themselves. Many times Mom and Dad's try to constantly tell the child what to do, how to sit, how to smile. etc...mom and dad unless you are the photographer. Don't do this. interact with your child but let the photographer be in charge of both you and the child. The child will see who mom and dad respect and for the most part be happy to let the photographer tell them what they need to do.
2. Choose a location that the child is comfortable with, somewhere they have been before or a place that is inviting for a child. A lot of times the best place is a park they frequent or in their own home. Come into their world where they are most comfortable.
3. Have something - a prop - or someone to distract and engage them to keep them busy. Notice emphasis on one, if there are to many people distracting the child things will get hectic, to distracting, and stressful for both you and the child. Many times I like to be the one talking to the child and when help is needed I ask may assistant or one of the parents to step in.
4. Eyes are the window to the soul esp with children. At a such a young age they are genuine and unguarded - Capture that. Make sure you have the proper lighting to capture the sparkle in their eyes!
5. Get to know the child but don't get to much in their face or space. Talk to them and make it a conversation between you, the child, and the camera! Get down on their level, both with the camera and how you interact with them. Get on the floor play with their toys with them and ask them questions or be goofy. Nobody likes serious photographers. :)
6. Kids are best when they are candid. Not one of the photos below were traditionally posed. They were spontaneous and most of the time happened very quickly. Be ready with your camera to capture that spontaneous moment.
7. KNOW your camera. When photographing Children you can't afford to waste much time fumbling with your settings. The moment will pass while you fuddle through and you will miss the shot.
Bonus hint: Some of these tricks also work well with older children and adults. Portrait photography is all about connecting with the person in the frame and communicating the depth of who that person is into your photos.
I hope you enjoyed looking the photo and that you are able to apply a few of the tricks listed above into your photography this Christmas season!
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