Photographing Children? Here’s What You Need to Know!

by Becky Patterson from Becoming a Photographer

Photograpy Tips

Photo credit: Dalia Drulia

They’re a delight to watch because of their antics and unbounded energy; they’re bubbly and cheerful, and their joy and laughter are infectious. However, when it comes to getting kids to pose for photographs, this energy becomes more than you can deal with – they don’t know how to sit still for formal photos, and they’re too conscious of themselves in casual shots and so end up looking awkward and forced. Photographing kids takes a special kind of skill, one that involves patience and creativity; so if you think you have what it takes, read on for a few tips that could make your job much easier:

5 Top Photography Tips for Photographing Children

  • Candid shots work best: When it comes to photographing kids, it’s best to catch them in action when they’re not aware that a camera is trained on them. This way, you don’t get any forced smiles or cheesy postures; they’re at their natural best. If you haven’t been hired by the parents and if you’re a professional photographer who wants to shoot children for an assignment, ask for parental permission first so as to avoid legal hassles.
  • Change tactics according to the age of the children: Babies are best photographed when they’re sleeping or when they’re cheerful and well-fed. They make good subjects because their movements are restricted. Older kids understand what you need and are amenable to poses, so it’s easy to shoot them as well. However, toddlers and younger children make the most difficult subjects since they cannot hold a pose for long. So either shoot them during natural activity or get your posed photos over in a trice – the longer you delay, the lower the quality of your pictures.
  • Get down to do the job well: It’s an oft-repeated tip, but one that is extremely important – get down to the
    Photography Tips

    Photo Credit: Cuba Gallery

    eye level of the kids you’re photographing. This makes your pictures look more effective and sharp and also allows your subjects to look directly into the camera instead of up at it.

  • Capture them in motion: Some photographers do a great job in putting together a series of shots to create a montage that when framed, looks lovely on a home wall. Use the burst mode to take a set of quick shots one after the other when the child is moving or doing something – you can select the photos you want to print later from the collection you shot.
  • Know how children behave: Kids are generally restless and don’t have much of an attention span, so don’t take too long for or between shots; get them over as soon as possible. If it’s a formal shoot, don’t schedule it when they’re cranky because they haven’t slept or because they’re hungry; choose a time when they’re happy and relaxed. Show the kids some of your shots of them so they’re encouraged to do a few more poses, and use settings where they’re comfortable and can have fun.

Photographing kids is a satisfactory job if you go about it the right way, so plan accordingly, and win over both the kids and their parents (if your photographing someone else’s kids) with your shots.

Thanks go to Becky Patterson for this great article. Becky writes on the topic of Becoming a Photographer. She can be reached at beckypatterson89[@]gmail[.]com.

2 Responses to Photographing Children? Here’s What You Need to Know!

  1. Connie September 16, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    These tips are really helpful Especially the one about making sure they are well fed. I’ll give that one a try at my next photo shoot for Mr 2.

  2. Mandy June September 17, 2010 at 9:15 am #

    Ah- photographing energetic children is a task that I can only leave to my photographer. I know that my kids have all the energy in the world so when it comes time to take pictures–it’s not an easy task. I take my kiddies to either a department store that has a photo studio or to a photographer friend and I must admit that they have all the patience in the world to deal with my kids.