Children are tricky to photograph. They are unpredictable, love to move and have so much energy! The equipment you use can make a huge difference to your shots, but in the last few years, technology has advanced so rapidly that you can take some really amazing shots with your mobile phone. Here are some of my top tips to capture the perfect shots – with any camera.
10 Tips For Taking Amazing Photographs of Children
1) Make them feel at ease with the camera.
Making children feel at ease with the camera really helps when you are taking photographs. Show them the camera, and let them see the photographs. Children love photographs, so get them to pull a funny face and then show them!
2) Involve them in the captures
Children LOVE to be involved. Ask for their opinions, ask them where is best to take the photograph or for ideas and input. My children often ask for photos to be taken as they play / climb. The photos they have asked for end up being some of my absolute favourites, because they are happy and relaxed.
3) Show your face & engage them
I think this is especially important. It is so easy to cover your face with the camera. It’s human nature to react when someone smiles at us, so give them a smile or do something to make them laugh. I often set up the shot and then move my head from behind the camera so they can see and engage with my face.
4) Change perspective
Any good guide for photographing kids will say ‘get down to their level’, and it’s really a good starting point. By kneeling down so you are at the same head height you get a much better angle and you are at a better level to engage! A different perspective can add a whole new layer of interest to a photograph. You can also try from above or from ground level to add a different perspective.
5) Consider the light.
The light really does make a HUGE difference in photography. Natural light makes a huge difference, and photographs taken outdoors are brilliant for this. If you are indoors, make the most of the light by trying to position the children close to a large, light window. If you want to try capturing that golden glow, the best time is after sunrise, or before sunset.
6) Whats in the background.
I really cannot count the number of times I’ve taken a photograph and afterward wished id just moved slightly to avoid something in the background (bins, usually!) Less background noise will draw more attention to your subject
7) Don’t say ‘cheese!’
We all have a cheese face, and saying ‘cheese’ is the sure-fire way to bring it out! We have much more natural smiles when we are engaged in a conversation.
8) Moments over poses.
I think ‘moments’ have to be my favourite type of photography. When we can photograph children totally engrossed in what they are doing and unaware of the camera.
9) Don’t chop off body parts.
I love headshots and head and shoulder shots as much as the next person, but this is mostly referring to limbs. Personally, I think that photographs look much better if all limbs are included, and look a bit odd if the feet are chopped off the bottom of a full-length photo.
10) Speedy shots & a flexible shooter
If you are attempting posed shots, try to make them nice and quick. I’ve learnt this lesson by trial and error. Well… mostly error! The ones where I have had the PERFECT shot in mind and tried again (and again, and again) to get it. Those are the ones that have failed miserably, resulting in both grumpy children and parents. When I take photos of siblings together, I try and get 4 / 5 shots in one place before quickly moving on. This lets the children have a break, and knowing that we will move on fairly quickly means that the children are MUCH more willing to stand together for a photograph.
Have I missed anything? What is your top tip for taking photographs of children?