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Photographing kids is not an easy task. The most difficult challenge is the toddler herself.
When you are photographing kids there are important thing to consider:
1. Age. Age of toddlers plays a big difference in the way they cooperate with a photographer. One year old’s are highly agreeable and put a lot of trust into their parents or other adults. Two and Three year old’s are the most challenging age group. They do not get the title “terrible twos” for nothing. Four year old’s and older children are less disobedient and can take directions from the photographer much like adults do.
Juliette 10 month old. settings: 24-70mm 1/250 f/4photo credit: Sasha Gitin
2. Become a Friend. Children after two (years old) become more independent. Their favorite word in reply to any request from an adult is “no”.They demand to be treated as adults and believe that they can make all the decisions themselves.Photographer should find a fine line – between being child’s friend and authoritative figure who is in charge of the photoshoot. While toddler’s mind is engaged in independent thinking they are still very much attached to their parents, therefore, to avoid separation anxiety taking hold make sure the parent is always close by at all times.
3. Play. Children cannot care less for photo production and the importance of the long lasting memories.What any child really wants is to have fun. The art of working with children is to structure the photoshoot as a play. Use a fun prop – something child can interact with but that is also aesthetically appealing
“Juliette not very happy” photo credit: Sasha Gitin
4. Plan Ahead. Plan all the steps of your shoot ahead. Make sure your camera is ready, exposure is set and all is left is for child to do something cute and for you to press the shutter. Child’s attention is likely to fade in less than a minute, so be ready to shoot immediately.
“Juliette” 2 1/2 year oldsettings: 24-70mm 1/100 f/4 in AV mode. photo credit: Robert Grant
5. Expect Unexpected. Leave the room for spontaneous action.Do not expect the child to stay in that most perfect setting you thought of.Allow her to wonder around and be prepared to shoot a moving subject.
“Juliette” 2 years oldsettings: 24-70mm @32mm 1/400 f3.5. photo credit: Sasha Gitin
6. Shooting Action: Check your shutter setting before switching to action: If motion blur desired for dynamic effect use shutter speed of 125 /sec to 60/sec. To freeze the motion use shutter of 250/sec and above.To follow running subject you may want to set your camera focus to “AI Servo” for (follow focus).
7. Angle: Remember that children are not as tall as adults. Get down to the child’s level (not only physically but mentally as well).Follow the child’s lead, and the results will surprise you!
8. Have fun: if everyone is having fun photos will create long lasting pleasant memories of the shooting day.
Let us know what you think. What’s your best or worst experience photographing kids?