Ask a photog – Tips for photographing kids

They say kids and puppies are the bane of show business. They aren’t wrong.

Here are a few pointers for keeping your sanity around the wiggly ones and getting some great photographs. Bring some wetnaps, a comb and the power of mom-spit: it’s going to be messy.

Shooting kids – with a camera that is

Tip #1  – know your kids

The first thing you need to do with kids is get to know them. Sit on the floor with them or run around the park and play for a while until they are comfortable with you. It’s good to have your camera with you, take a few shots and let them get acclimated to your presence.

Tip #2 – get down

Shoot on their level. Get low to the ground or shoot with extreme angles. You really want to avoid the “god” shot with kids, looking down on them from heaven. Go ahead and zoom in – we recommend getting really close to their face and getting interesting expressions … don’t forget to focus on their eyes. A good rule of thumb for checking focus in your viewfinder … check out the eyelashes. If you can see distinct eyelashes, you’ve got it!

Tip #3 – play

Shoot at a playground or outside where they can run around. Or if you’re in a studio, bring a toy or have the kids play with something they like. (You can keep those toys in the shot if it works).  Basically, you want them to distract their focus from the camera (and keep them entertained) until you’re ready. Jangling keys over your lens …. totally works.

Tip #4 – k.i.s.s {keep it simple … silly!}

Keep your equipment easy and simple. You’ll have enough to handle with your subject. If you have crazy equipment bring in a friend to help as a second pair of hands. Heck, bring a friend anyway.  Also, if you have a setting like “sports” or “child” use it. A fast shutter speed and a fast recycle time will help you get more shots. If you have a camera that “thinks” before it shutters, hold the shutter half way down until you see the shot you want to take – no lag time.

Tip #5 – go outside

Shoot outdoors when you can – the light is right. If you’re indoors try bouncing flash or opening a lot of curtains.  Always keep an eye out for the background. Trust me, I have seen my share of palm trees growing out of heads. Don’t let your children become victims to the ‘head pole’ menace. Use what you find outdoors in your shots too. Have your kids climb trees, or look through fence holes, or play on the swings … use these elements to frame your shot.

Tip #6 – plant those kids

Here’s a favorite trick for the wiggly ones. Stick those kids in a swing, a bucket or even (ala the dreaded Anne Geddes) a tire or flower pot. Sometimes you do what you have to do. And, hey if we have to take the Anne Geddes shot it’s not terribly lame – it’s cool … um, right?

Good luck!


3 thoughts on “Ask a photog – Tips for photographing kids

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