Kids are great! Whoever said “never work with kids or animals” had it sooo wrong.
I want to share with you something that will help you capture some beautiful photos of your precious little people that will stay with you for the rest of your life…..
These tips and ideas are taken from a new book all about photographing kids. The excerpts I have for you are for the novice, the amateur and professional alike. The book is called : Click! How to take gorgeous photos of your kids. By Rachel Devine.
“Children change daily. As a mother, I know those mornings when the children have grown and changed overnight. To honor this extraordinary time of life, I feel we need to photograph more than just the pretty portraits. By way of example, I’d like to share with you this portrait of my daughter, Clover. The light is nice, the colors are warm, and she has a sweet smile with direct eye contact. The only thing is, that image tells you nothing about my daughter—in fact, it’s almost misleading. Clover is a wild and crazy little thing who’s rarely still. Her overwhelmingly larger-than-life personality is hidden in this pretty portrait.”
5 Top Tips direct from the new DPS Book. Click! how to take gorgeous photos of your kids.
1. First of all, get that camera out of the bag and have it with you always.
Learn to use it until it feels natural in your hands. Life simply happens, especially with little kids, and you need to be prepared to document it. When the camera is out and within reach, it will lose its novelty to children and be as normal to them as any other everyday appliance. When taking photos happens seamlessly, rather than being a production, children won’t react to it in a negative way. The camera shouldn’t interrupt the flow of your day; it should fit right in. Work towards picking it up and putting it down as you would your phone.
2. A family treasure hangs in my mother’s bedroom:
A beautiful family photograph taken in the fall of 1997. That image is priceless to us because my father looks well and happy as he sits next to my mother, the love of his life. The photograph reveals no signs of the cancer that would take him from us two years later. The autumn leaves are beautiful, and we all match nicely in our coordinated outfits. But it isn’t an entirely truthful portrait of our family, and it certainly doesn’t represent the full story of that day. You see, my father was never a relaxed man. He was a very important doctor, and he expected everything in his life to run in a certain order. All five of his children liked to challenge that order a little for fun. That day, I remember that we were all told to wear tan pants and navy tops. We gathered outside, and the photographer got ready to shoot, but we were waiting for my brother, Paul, who’d flown from Denver for the reunion and was still inside getting ready. My father was growing increasingly irritated. Paul eventually came running out of the house apologizing for the delay—and wearing a bright red sweater. We all exploded into laughter—all of us except my father, that is, who was steaming. It was a perfectly planned little prank—Paul had the blue top hidden underneath. And in the end, it did make my father laugh too. But there are no photos of that moment that so characterized my family and its dynamic. The photographer didn’t think to take shots, but that moment, that was my family. A photograph of Paul in the red sweater, laughing with the rest of us in our matching outfits, would have been the perfect portrait. And it’s these unexpected, revealing moments I strive to capture when I photograph my own family or any client’s.
You’re not only documenting the universal moments of childhood, but the uniqueness of a particular child.
3. Styling. Keep it simple. Let me say that again.
Keep. It. Simple.
Think of photography as telling the story of someone in the least number of elements. The fewer the elements you include, the stronger your statement. When your subject is clad in bright colors, surrounded by a giant bunch of balloons, and placed in a busy environment, the impact is lost.
In what may seem like a u-turn, I am also going to suggest that sometimes you let your little models do their own styling, choosing their own wardrobe so you can portray the sheer mess of colors and patterns they find beautiful. The difference is context and intent— your model has chosen her wardrobe because it means something to her, and it’s her story you’re telling. In cases like this, just make sure to keep your background simple to avoid overwhelming the image and to highlight the importance of the outfit, how ever colorful and crazy.
4. light. Photography is all about light.
But with children as your models, merely knowing when the light is best is not enough. You must also coordinate your shoots with nap times, meal times, and ever fluctuating moods and levels of cooperation. For the most part, I find that if children are fed dinner early enough, they’ll be happy for an excuse to postpone bedtime by frolicking in the gorgeous magic hour as the sun is setting—well worth it for the most even and warm natural light possible. Of course, that golden hour will change according to seasons and location in the world— Icelandic summers actually see this wonderful light in the hours around midnight—so bedtimes will mean this mightn’t be an option all year round.
5. Color. While a pop of color is great, don’t underestimate the power of black-and-white shots.
Start with natural colors, get the exposure right in-camera, and then you’ll have the freedom to play from there. With that said, if you want to experiment with different looks, keep the original files in case you want to go back to them as technology, trends, and your skills evolve. The over-saturated colors of digital photography and the new vintage looks may appear as dated in a few years as the school pictures of the 1980s.
Thanks to the guy’s at DPS for letting me republish these pages and tips for all my readers to enjoy 🙂
This book is just so jam-packed with good stuff I’m going to put some of the tip’s into practice.
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