Monday, September 30, 2013

Photographing Children Isn't Easy | 4 Tips to Remember

As I am slowly still learning about photography and my camera every day, I find that I both enjoy and dislike photographing children the most. Children are little busy bees and even the 13 years of working in childcare, plus raising six children of my own, doesn't prepare you for photographing children. Even doing a Pinterest search of child photography tips isn't a fool proof plan to better photos. However, the joy of it all is capturing those genuine smiles, or those looks of curiosity, that just can't be replicated as an adult. Sometimes the best photos of children are the ones you don't try to force or plan. I love getting down on their level just waiting for that perfect moment.

Here are a few of my own tips that help me get those great shots. 

1. Children don't have to be posed. 

I have photographed two separate families recently, each with young children. With the Harrison family, Kensly's younger brother, Caden was just so curious about everything around him. He wanted to crawl and climb and just wasn't into having his picture taken. It was a pretty humid day and I could tell mom and dad were getting a little frustrated, but when they gave in and just let him do his own thing, I was able to get some pretty great photos.


2. Only one person needs to be giving direction. 

The Dement Family knew exactly what they wanted for their photos. However, when it was Gracie and Gabriel's turn to take photos together, their parent's stepped back and let Gracie do a lot of the work for getting Gabriel's attention. Sometimes too many people trying to get the attention of a child can be confusing for a child. In this photo, I kept my mouth shut and waited for the right moment while mommy stood behind me and called Gabriel's name.


3. Just take the pictures!

Sometimes you get lucky and your best shot is the one right after the one you were sure was the best. Gabriel heard his little voice being called by his mommy and he looked up. I shot the photo, and it was good, but the great photo was the one when he locked eyes on her and smiled. If I had gotten up and didn't just keep shooting, I would have missed the photo because this busy little guy was curious about the rocks, the pumpkins, and everything else around him. Even the best photographers have to take multiple photos to get "the shot".


4. Imperfect makes perfect photos. 

Just because everyone isn't looking at the camera, doesn't mean you have to toss the photo into the trash. I love this one I took even though Caden isn't looking at the camera. Sometimes we want to remember our children just how they are in that moment. Caden's little hands placed on his mommy and daddy says so much more about his love for them than his eyes looking toward me probably could have.


A few years ago, my daughter Phoenix had school pictures at her preschool and the photo that the photographer captured was one of her holding an apple and looking down at it. This is a well known company that specializes in school pictures and when I got Phoenix's picture package back, it was not the photo that I wanted. It was the one right after it where they called her name to get her attention. She was looking at the camera, dead faced, and holding the apple. To them, that was the good picture because she was looking at the camera. Even when I contacted the company to have them send the package with the picture I loved, it was a struggle because they felt it wasn't a good shot representing them as photographers. They eventually, but hesitantly, sent the photo and it has always been one of my favorites I have of her, regardless of what their idea of a "perfect" photo is.

I have read many tips on photographing children and the tips and tricks shared over at Jasmine Star Photography are some of my favorites. Sometimes we all have to remember that these are children and the best way to get them to cooperate is to just have fun!

What are some of the tricks you use when photographing children?

Check out my photography blog here for more of my work.

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