Have Friends Gasping With Amazement at Your Photos of Kids


Kids – They're Not Easy Subjects

Get it right and you've got yourself some impressive and emotional photography.

For one, getting them to sit still takes patience and all sorts of scheming tactics, which is why there's more to it than a cheesy grin staring into the camera lens. It's about creating lasting memories, ones that families will forever cherish.

Like any aspect of photography, they present challenges and we've got some tips here to help you overcome some of the common issues so that you're even impressing yourself.

photographing kids
Image by SkitterPhoto (stock)

1. Preparation is Key

Have an idea in your mind for what kind of shoot you're planning and of course have this discussed over with the parents of the kids. Explain whether it'll be ideal ALL outdoors or more of an indoor “home” environment.

This way everyone at least know whether they need waterproof boots or can be extra casual in socks at home.

Not only this you'll need to have the right gear too – spare batteries and memory cards are a must.

Engage With Kids – Show Them What You're Doing

Image by Jessica Lewis

Get on their level, no, literally too. Try to speak in their language and much lower than the “giant” adult height – this also makes for far more interesting composition.

Kids want to learn what's going on, they'll be intrigued with that big block of a DSLR you're holding in your hands. Show them what it is and let them scan through some pictures too.

Be Human – Understand How Children Behave and Familiarize Yourself

Image by kheinz

Kids can be difficult to work with if they're uber-shy or indeed super energetic! That's when you have to try and relax and be yourself, put the camera aside and just try and relate to them.

A tall stranger with a camera (and gear) can be intimidating as well as overwhelmingly exciting, so having to manage both situations should be on your radar. Keep things straightforward to begin with so the kids feel at ease and that what they're doing is a normal easy task with little effort involved.

Have Some Props or a Couple of Super Simple Games

Image by Daniela Dimitrova

The last thing you want is bored kids, this can create a couple of interesting shots but beyond that, it's tough to get them to remain engaged. That's where it's a great idea to have some props – not only for the kids but the whole family. These can be your own or what the family already have in their home or garden.

Using Natural Light to Your Advantage

Image by Swaraj Tiwari

First off, fast shutter speeds – with subjects that like to move this is a sensible idea. It doesn't mean that kids don't stop ever, it's just that their creative little spontaneous minds can cause you to miss a beat if your shutter speed isn't ready like a finger at the trigger!

Spontaneity – Keep Some of it “Off-Plan”

Image by Trinity Kubassek

Sometimes kids may get bored at worst, or just pulling faces which aren't working for you, the photographer. The simple distraction “shock” tips are old but work like a charm. Remember, always be on the lookout for spontaneous expressions which can often be one-off golden charms!

Capturing those candid moments will really make the difference to your client's response and will enable you to develop further as a photographer by “looking out” for those moments, and being ready, all the time.

Take Loads of Pictures!

Image by Bess Hamiti
Image by Bess Hamiti

This is one of the ultimate luxuries of digital photography. Taking many photos and having extra memory cards at the ready for when your camera fills up the first ones. At the end of a shoot, you want to feel satisfied that you've caught enough “moments” that you will have satisfied the brief, i.e. your client's requests.

Further Learning

If you’re really keen on developing your knowledge of using light and taking it to new heights in your work as a photographer – portrait or otherwise, check out this Guide: Understanding Light – Book 2.
Here you’ll be taking through some more advanced techniques suitable for anyone who wants to really get the most from their camera!

About Author

Russell is a self-taught photographer who loves travel and capturing life as it unfolds. Having lived in the far east for a few years with some long term travel, this catalyzed his new-found passion for photography.
Lifestyle, Food, and Event Photography are areas he enjoys most.

My 3 y/o is easy to photograph. I get my camera settings right first. Then I say, sit still so mommy can take your picture. She will sit still for a few moments and smile for me. I get the shots and show them to her. I wait a while before I try again so I don’t overwhelm her. It always works. Sometimes I photograph her from a distance when she isn’t aware. Easy.

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