How to Photograph Children

How to:
Build your Portfolio
Shoot Museum Quality
Shoot Glamour Shots
Photograph People
photograph Childrens
photo Large Groups
Shoot in Low Light
Fill Flash photography
Portrait Posing Tips
Mastering Macro
Night Scapes
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Try to get the kids in a good mood.  If you have time, wait for the child or children to be in a good mood naturally.  If you don’t have time, work with what you have.  A portrait of a child being sullen can be just as evocative as a smiling child (and sometimes more realistic!).

If you can, have the children dress in plain clothing.  Shirts should be monochromatic to keep from distracting attention from the child’s face.  When photographing a group
of children, try to get them dressed in similar colors to keep clothes from clashing and distracting from the children themselves.  Suggest a color scheme or outfit: jeans and white shirts are classic.  Khakis are more formal.  You can try for color, maybe telling the children to dress in primary colors or all-American red, white, and blue. Let kids be kids.  A photo of a child posed like a miniature adult might be amusing, but it won’t be a real portrait in the sense that it won’t capture the magic and personality of the child.

It helps to know the children.  If they are your kids or relatives, you probably know their favorite toys or their favorite blankets or clothes.  Let them play with their toys.  Let them dress the way they wish.  The pictures will be candid and natural.  They’ll feel more comfortable in front of the camera, and then they may be more receptive to instruction.  On a related note, use telephoto lenses for close-up face and portrait shots.  It will keep you from crowding them and possibly frightening them.

Vary your height.  Try taking pictures from the child’s level.  Try taking pictures from below – kids like feeling tall.  Let the kid play at being a giant, and see what you get.

Children move.  Try to capture this movement.  Experiment with shutter speed.  A slow shutter speed will blur the child, and a fast shutter speed will stop the movement in action.  If a child is running or skateboarding, try panning.  Panning is a method of keeping the subject in focus but letting the background streak in motion.  To pan, hold the camera with your elbows against your chest for stability.  As the child moves past you, follow with the camera, keeping the child in the same place in the frame.  Use a slowish shutter speed, and don’t stop moving the camera when you click the shutter.  Be prepared to use a lot of film while perfecting this technique.  Another way to use running in photographs, especially when photographing a group of children, is to have the children run toward the camera and take several pictures in rapid succession (you will never be able to predict which picture will come out best).

Be aware of the background.  Make sure nothing distracts from the child.  At the same time, a photograph of a child at play can let the playroom fill the frame while still keeping the focus on the child.

When taking posed pictures of groups of children, try to make them relaxed and natural, even for formal portraits.  Kids don’t naturally stand in a single-file line.  Use different levels.  Have one child kneel or sit on the ground.  Have the kids sit on different levels of the stairs.  Have the kids climb on each other for a more casual portrait – encourage them to make a pyramid or give piggyback rides.  Keep the background simple to maintain focus on the kids.

As usual, be prepared to use a lot of film.  Kids are unpredictable, and they make faces sometimes instead of smiling.  Let them have fun, because if they have fun, your pictures will show that fun and life.