As most readers of this blog are aware, my main business involves photographing babies, children and families at home or on location. Photographing children involves a number of skills in order to get the best images of the children and capture their personalities in ways that their parents will love. So I thought I might share a few tips and typical scenarios with you – for a bit of fun as much as anything else !
You may arrive at a house for a photo session and the little one will carry on like a seasoned top model throughout the entire session like this little star …
It is more likely however that the child will be slightly wary of you at first but if you take the time to play with them and get to know them you will soon be able to get some fabulous expressions from them … patience is the name of the game when you are doing baby and child shoots.
Some children may regard you with suspicion for some time and take a little longer to warm up …..
Some children may decide that they are not going to provide you with that lovely shot for Grandma …..
Babies that have just learnt to crawl are quite a challenge as they are only interested in the fact that they can now move around the house very fast and are not so interested in lifting their heads up so you can get a shot of their face. If you don’t want to spend the entire session crawling on your belly like a large slug you may need to relocate the child to a contained area. Putting them in the bath can work quite well as there is no escape !
The “Relaxed, Natural” style of photography that people really like does still require some sort of direction to get good results – however this may backfire … Telling siblings to cuddle will invariably mean one just strangles the other …
Suggestions like ” see if you can jump out from behind that tree and scare your brother ” may be taken too literally by the child and not result in the picture you were after ….
It might seem a good idea to play hide and seek with a child until they decide they are going to remain under the table and you can’t convince them to come back out….
You may have booked the photo session on the very day that a young child has learned how to gurn for the first time. Said child will probably then practise their newly aquired gurning skills for a large part of the shoot.
You may be about to get the one shot that Mum would really like – the perfect shot of the two girls together – and one will choose that moment to decide she should stuff a flower up her nose !
Or .. you will get to the ideal spot – amongst all the beautiful spring blossom, with a child dressed to coordinate perfectly with the environment and inevitably ….. you will be faced with a total meltdown ……
Taking children to the park so that they can play during the shoot always works well. They may not reward you with much expression if you just sit them down on the floor and attempt to get a good portrait of them – but give them something to play on and they will soon perk up and look a great deal more enthusiastic !
It is important to control the session. You need to time the shoot well and be very aware of the moods of the children throughout so that you don’t push them too much when they are tired, because if you do, it can all go horribly wrong. Allowing time to have breaks and drinks and snacks will make the session much more successful. But children will generally make it very obvious to you when they are starting to get a bit fed up …
Never put the camera away too soon. Keep it out of the bag until you actually leave the house or drive away – it may be that the photo Mum ends up loving is the very last one you take heading back through the front door – and you would have missed out on that one if you’d already packed all your gear away.
Finally – if you are enjoying yourself as much as your small models are … then you won’t go too far wrong !