Friday, February 24, 2012

Some help with the kiddos!

Has anyone ever found it difficult to photograph young kids? Well, you aren't alone! I'm definitely no pro when it comes to it, but I thought I'd share what a few things I've found helpful when trying to photograph energetic little munchkins.

When I first started my "photography journey" I decided children would be a wonderful subject to photograph. After all, they're cute and adorable, I don't have to sound intelligent around them, and they're just so natural in front of the camera. heh. well….it didn't take long for me to realize there was just a liiiitle more to it than that.

Between nephews, and many other kids photo sessions, I've learned a few helpful pointers. Here they are.

1. Get a true portrait.
If there is one thing I've learned it's this: I want TRUE portraits of people. It's a goal I'm constantly trying to better myself at. If I'm holding a little boy down telling him to sit and smile, he'll probably start crying. Sometimes after that, he'll be grumpy for the rest of the session.
Kids play. Little boys run. Let him play with his favorite soccer ball, or simply have him race with his siblings. You get real smiles because they're having a good time! Oh and, become their friend first, and then maybe towards the end they'll give you that perfect "sit still and smile" picture that mom wants!

2. Pick a good time.
Oh, I have learned my lesson on this one! I really try not to pick the time for photos when it involves kids. What I usually do is suggest a good time, and then see if that's a good time for them. You don't want to come during nap or lunch time! Ask their parents when they are happiest!

3. Play!
Get down and play and run with the kids. Make friends with them! I promise they'll like you a lot if you do ;-)
I usually run around with my camera around my neck, and if I can, I'll stop really fast and get some great action shots! Be energetic! Have some fun!

4. "Watch me blink!"
Now this one works for some and not others. But it has worked for a majority of the kids I've done this with. Tell them to watch the camera and see if they see you blink.
"HEY! If you look in here reallllly closely, you can see my eye blink. Ok…watch really closely….tell me what you see!"
It usually works like a charm.

5. Parents!
Make friends with the parents! Communicate with them. Some parents can get stressed when their child isn't cooperating. Help relax the parents! This is how it goes a lot of times:
Parent: "Ugh! I'm so sorry!"
Me: "Oh no! It's fine, don't worry about it. How about I just play with them for a few minutes, and I'll grab some action shots. Then as we get used to each other, I'll try to get a few of those shots as well. "
Parents like to see their kids having fun! So, make it fun for you and the parents!

So there's my little 2 cents worth. Again, I do NOT claim to be a pro at this. Just a few things I've learned from shooting kids. Anyone have anything else that they've found helpful?? Please share it!

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