If there is something tricky in photography (which I discovered by myself the hard way), then that would be taking snapshots of the most impatient of us all: children. They are always in search of new gimmicks, places to explore, games to try, yet they will never take you and your camera seriously unless you follow a few simple steps. Here’s my list of how to engage with them in order to make the photo album more interesting while capturing the beautiful essence of childhood…
1. Absolutely no cheeseAccording to a friend of mine who happens to be a very talented photographer, saying ‘cheese’ to children usually leads to them forcing themselves to fake an emotion while you’ll be missing on the natural smile. Instead ask them questions about their fabourite book characters or make them put on a show from their fabourite stories, ask them to share a joke or a gimmick and you’ll be guaranteed a great smile and more.
2. Getting in their shoes is the key If you want the authentic thing happening, then don’t be afraid to play, sing, get funny, get silly, get down on the floor and find the perfect angle. They’ll feel more comfortable and will open up while your editing on the photos may be less of a hard work.
3. Timing is not all, but perfect timing can be everything Have you ever tried to capture a good a portrait of a hungry child? Or of a tired one? Grumpy faces are not what we want to snap for framing. Therefore make sure they’re fed, they slept and ready to roll :).
4. Use window light The window light is the softest in indoor spaces. It highlights the main traits while the captured colours will be be easier to work with.
4. Remove distractionsThis is a must if you want their faces in the snapshot and not their shoulders and backs. With groups is sometimes harder as getting everyone to pay attention isn’t easy in the very classrooms where the headmistress can be the strictest person in the building. Still, don’t lose hope, remove anything that seems to distract them, such as toys or gadgets, instead play some music or play a group game such as team building activities where they will engage with each other, therefore eventually with you too.
5. Click, click, clicking. Delete, delete, deleting.Digital age is sometimes the best thing that I feel happened to us when it comes to photography! Taking several shots can only increase your chances of getting that one perfect spontaneous picture your empty frame is waiting for at home. Needless to say more…
6. Enter their environmentPhoto studios are well equipped and the light there is always perfect, but they may not always be the most welcoming place for children. Getting flexible and trying to find a a way around setting up your own photoshoot in their bedrooms, house garden or school yard, can lead to great results (either you choose to go for a professional hand or for a friend with a good eye for snapping).
7. Listen While not getting them too much out of their confort zone can help them ease on you, trying to also engage them into conversations no matter the topic, could get them share stories with you so gain their trust by listening. Get then clicking, listening some more, agreeing, and asking questions to make them carry on. While you’re of course, clicking
If you have other tips, feel free to share them with us…;)
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