Babies and children are one of the most popular subjects for photography. Proud parents can’t resist shooting pictures of their children growing up, and modern digital cameras make the process easier than ever. Smartphone cameras are perfect for shooting snaps of children, and most people have their device with them all the time, so an opportunity is rarely missed. The best digital camera for photographing children isn’t necessarily a professional DSLR. Capturing great shots of children is more about smiles than megapixels.
Shooting pictures of your children on a regular basis means you can build a complete record of every stage of their development. The most effective approach changes as a child grows up, and it’s important to adapt the way you work for different life stages. Photographing babies can be difficult as they can’t sit or hold their heads up. Toddlers are a different challenge, and you have to react quickly to capture them as they crawl and run around.
The following tips will help you to capture pictures of your children that you’ll treasure for years to come.
Choose your timing carefully.Photographing babies and children involves patience and carefully timing. It’s generally best to take baby shots after they have slept, and you also need to take account of when their next feed is due. Toddlers and older children can lose interest and get upset when they’re tired, so don’t try shooting them unless you know they have the energy. If a baby or child is falling asleep or not cooperating as you’d expected, take a break and try again later. If you persist when a child isn’t in the mood to be photographed, it’s unlikely you’ll get the shots you want.
Make it fun and enjoyable.Children show their personalities when they are happy and having fun, so turn your photo shoot into a game if you want great results. If the children aren’t yours, involve their parents or other family members to make sure they feel secure and happy. A child’s favourite toy is often the key to capturing great smiles. Talking to children and engaging with them means they often forget the camera is there and will behave naturally. Songs, jokes and games are often more important than technical knowledge when it comes to photographing children.
Get down low and enter a child’s world.One of the most common mistakes in photographing children is to shoot them from above. Crouching down so that you are at eye level with a child instantly improves most pictures. Be prepared to lay on the floor for the best shots. Asking children to lay on the floor facing you is a great way of engaging them for direct eye contact.
Crop for impact.Filling the frame with a subject is one of the most powerful techniques in portrait photography. Move close to your subject or use a zoom lens to crop for impact. Shots of children running around playing are great, but make sure you get some shots with their faces filling the frame.
Don’t forget the basics.Photographing children can be physically tiring and a test of patience. If you want to get great results, you have to be prepared to get involved and make it fun. It’s important not to forget your basic photography skills in the heat of the moment. Make sure every shot is focussed and exposed correctly, or all your efforts will be wasted. Set your camera to auto mode if you know it will produce good results. Pay attention to the direction and quality of the light, and don’t let great shots be ruined by shadows or poor lighting.