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Photographing Children

2013-05-02 21:09:00 GMT

Most moms have everything, and with Mothers Day just around the corner you are probably receiving a lot of last minute photo session requests to be given as gifts. So here are a few helpful tips to creating timeless and unique family photos with children of all ages.

Newborns:
Babies, as much as they are cute and adorable, they don’t do much. You’ll have to be comfortable handling them, and if you’re not, there is no harm in asking the mother to work with you. The best time of the day to shoot newborns is when they are the most sleepy, make sure the mom knows this and schedule the appointment at that time of the day. When booking the session, remind mom to dress the baby in something that will not disturb them if you take it off, maybe even just have them bring the baby swaddled or at least wearing something you do not have to pull over their heads.

Because baby is likely to be sleeping, it’s a good idea to have a decent stockpile of blankets and fabrics of all colors and textures. Fabrics are great for backdrops (especially if you are into DIY), but can also be placed over a pillow for instant baby posing.

Get close to the baby, shoot all their features individually. Capture tiny fingers and toes, and wrinkled skin. When babies get older, the parents often like to look back at all those tiny details, see just how small they used to be. Having the parents hold the baby in their arms, or against dads hands, highlights their smallness.

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Photo courtesy of Alexandra Pottier

Toddlers:
If you’ve ever worked with children before you’ll know that this is often the hardest age group to work with. Toddlers have a lot of energy and love to run around and get into things. So, be silly. Halloween isn’t the only time of the year toddlers like to dress up! What could be more cute then the little princess or ballerina that she loves or the most adorable little boy baseball player. Talk with mom before the session to find out what the kids are interested in and bring enough props to keep them entertained. The last thing you want is a bored toddler.

Some toddlers are shy, help make them more comfortable by taking a few shots with mom in the picture. This is a fun way to make sure you get good natural smiles as well. If he is an active boy have him run as fast as he can towards the parents and give them a BIG hug. This is where you’ll need to know your camera like the back of your hand. You never know if they’ll change direction or laugh at something so be quick and always clicking!



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Younger Children:
This is the age where kids have finally fine tuned their personality. They’ll do what they want and nothing else. So let them go, they don’t have to always do the very specific things they’re asked. Don’t boss them around, don’t talk down to them and don’t ask their parents to control them during the shoot. The best thing you can do is simply relax and be yourself.

Kindergarten aged children are used to getting their pictures taken, therefore as soon as you pull out the camera they automatically put on their “cheese” face. Cheese smiles are not real smiles, let the child run around and capture them having fun in their own ways. Remember, the subject doesn’t have to be looking directly into the camera for your image to tell their story.

PreTeens:
All kids get their school photos taken, but a lot of the time they are boring. If your client is looking for portrait photography, but wants something more than just face-on head shots that the school usually provides, use these few simple adjustments to get the exact portrait they are looking for.

Use a real background, unlike a backdrop this gives the image more depth. Just remember the person in the portrait is the main point of interest, but having a different background locations can dramatically alter the mood of the shot, and lets be honest, you never know what kind of mood this particular preteen will have.

A good rule of thumb is to have your subject turn ¾ from the cameras position. Have the subject flare their elbows away from the body a little to thin-out their silhouette.



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Photo courtesy of Amy Alden Timacheff

Teens:
Most teens are getting ready to enter the real world and want to be treated like adults, do that and they will have great smiles and photos that they won’t necessarily be ashamed of showing off in 20 years.

Teens are interesting subjects. Encourage them to be themselves and not to worry about the camera or what they look like. These are the years where they are able to express their changing personality, they’ll wear what they want to wear and do what they want to do. Don’t try and stage photos, just be natural, casual and make sure they’re comfortable. Try to avoid shooting with the flash. Just keep shooting pictures and they will eventually start to relax and become less self-aware.



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