Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Five Tips for Taking Photos of Children – Rebecca Doyle Photography

"Never work with animals or children" .... Or so the saying goes .... but I urge you, please don't let that put you off! Taking photos of children may feel like a daunting task, getting them to stay still and not pull off their shoes and stomp around in the nearest muddy puddle.

However, armed with a bit of know-how about how to make children feel comfortable and what to possibly anticipate during a session, you will be taking amazing photos of these precious little cherubs in no time.

Read on to find five handy tips to help you 'Capture That Kid!':

1. Talk
I don't think I can emphasise this one enough, and I know that it seems quite an obvious thing that you should do, but I've seen what happens when a photographer doesn't spend some time talking to the child initially. If you hide behind the camera first you are fighting an uphill battle for the rest of the session. Put yourself in their shoes, and imagine someone turning up to where you are, raises their camera and starts taking photos of you. You too would likely be feeling stroppy, wanting to run away and scream a little. (The advantage of being a child is you can get away with this .... Adults pouting, stomping their feet and dramatically flouncing to the ground tend to draw a bit more attention).

Get down on the child's level and spend some time chatting to them, and if they are old enough, you might even wish to tell them what you are going to do. In the digital era, we are at a wonderful advantage, so make sure you capitalize on it ..... snap a couple of pictures and then show them these on your camera. Have a bit of fun with it first and you will be surprised how quickly they will come around.

As the session goes along, continue talking to the child (well, to everyone you are taking photos of really!). Don't see putting your camera down and stopping taking photos for a few minutes to have a chat as an 'interruption' to your session, but rather as an important part of

2. Think 'photojournalism'
Photos of children don't always need to be traditional poses and putting them into positions. Change up your way of thinking and try to capture life as it naturally happens. Children interacting with their parents or siblings, sharing laughs, sharing cuddles are a great way to document what life in their family is all about. Parents love the little details of how the child will rest their cute, pudgy fingers on their Mummy's arm whilst being read a story, or how their face will come alive when Daddy picks them up and spins them around. Try not to get caught up in thinking that a good photo must have everyone looking at the camera ...... capturing the real joy and the real life makes for great photos and memories that will be treasured always.

3. Props
I don't think I have ever come across a child that doesn't have a favorite toy/blanket/book, so why not get them to bring this along to the session. Having these items will often make a child relax a lot more, and using them in the photo sessions means you can also tackle your newly found 'photojournalistic style'.

Also bringing along things to either entertain the child or use in a session can be well worthwhile. My bag of things I take along to a session with a small child always looks like such fun ..... bubbles..... bubbles...... what small child doesn't love bubbles?!

4. Mini-assistants
Some of my best, and definitely cutest, reflector holders have been the children subjects of a photo shoot. An excellent way to have them involved is to take some time to take photos of Mum & Dad, and have the child hold the reflector for you ..... I have found those that most
children lap up this new responsibility, and I get the added bonus of having someone hold my reflector! Asking a child to help you catch the attention of a younger sibling, or pick a spot outside to sit for a family photo also an excellent way to get them involved in the session, and hopefully the pay off for that is also increased enthusiasm and acceptance to have you take some photos of them too.

5. Go with the flow!
Chances are, any firm 'plans' you have for a photo session with a small child will go out the window in the first five minutes, and you will soon find yourself climbing trees, jumping off rocks, singing nursery rhymes, lying on the ground or turning cartwheels (yes, I have done all those things during photo shoots). I am not saying that is not a good idea to have some tips and tricks up your sleeve of things you might like to try, but please don't let it worry you if they don't happen.

Small children are the most wonderfully unpredictable, carefree, adventure seeking people .... Go with it and enjoy how their nature helps to guide a fun session for you.

Rebecca Doyle Photography

Rebecca Doyle is a natural-light photographer in Australia, specializing in natural, fun sessions. She strives to have her pictures tell a story. Her 3 year old daughter Tara keeps Rebecca and her husband on their toes, worn out, motivated and entertained on a daily basis. Please pop on over to Rebecca's Blog and say 'G'day!

**If you are interested in contributing an article for our "Tips and Tricks" for working with children section please send an email to capturethatkid@gmail.com 

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