The last thing you want to happen is for the child to get bored. That will mean your photo shoot is over. Your chance for the best photo possible is gone.
Think about activities that you could have the child do. Dare them to jump higher than you. Or see how fast they can run towards the camera.
How about asking them what their favourite dance move is? If their energy seems to dip, this could also be a good time to bring out those fun props you brought along.
Making sure that your subject is entertained means that they’ll be happy and comfortable. This always means you have more opportunities to capture natural candid moments.
Capture Candid Photos
Smiling poses are nice, but be on the lookout for the “in between” moments. These are the moments between posing, when they burst into laughter or make goofy faces.
Sure, parents will want a few photos with traditional poses. But the candid moment’s in between poses are going to matter most. Those will be the ones that reflect their personality the most.
This is where your choice of lens and camera can be important. There is no best lens for child photography, but a versatile lens such as the Canon 24-70mm would work well.
This is down to being able to change focal lengths at the drop of the hat. You don’t want to change prime lenses when the kids are running around. Make sure you have the right camera settings and wait for the right moment.
The same goes for the camera choice. There is no best camera for child photography. Yet, one that can take many shots per second will help you when the kids are running around.
Try a Variety of Poses With a Dynamic Photo Shoot
With most kids being very active, it should make it easy to get a variety of shots. Still, you want to keep this in mind during the session. That way you’ll have plenty of photos to pick from once you’re culling.
If you’re done making photos that are standing, have the child sit on a low ledge somewhere or on a set of steps.
If most of your shots are of low key activities, ask the child to run towards the camera or jump super high.
Or if you have loads of photos with laughter, aim to get a few moments where they’re a bit more reflective. Photo sessions with great shots show a range of settings, positions and atmospheres.
The parents will be happy to have so many to choose from. This could also mean more profit for you when the parents can’t choose!
Patience Is Key When Photographing Children
Kids aren’t worried about your schedule, so you shouldn’t be either. Giving them time will let them get comfortable. This will lead to more natural moments.
Plus, consider that it often takes a little while for the child to get comfortable with a camera. And even with you if they haven’t met you before that day.
Play around with the natural light in getting those great images. Small children are unpredictable, so go with the flow and follow them with your Nikon or Canon in tow.
Don’t Focus Only on the Face
Often times, the most telling photos are not showing the child’s face at all. Are they running on the beach towards the water? It might be best to forget about your well-trained eye for portrait photography.
Shooting from behind may show how windy the day is and how expansive the beach is. If they’re finger painting, focus on their hands. If they’re running, focus on their feet.
Get creative with the cropping and focal point. This will add interest and highlight the child’s favourite activities.
Allow the children to use their favourite activities. This is a great tip in capturing amazing child portraits photography.
Shoot Continuous Mode and Use Autofocus
Kids move fast, especially small children. This means you need to be ready to shoot fast. You won’t have a chance to focus for each shot, and often you’ll need to capture the moment before it slips away.
Shooting in continuous mode will ensure that you can take a series of shots during an active moment. You’ll be more likely to capture the right expression.
Use autofocus and back-button focus. This will help ensure that your focal point is always where you want it to be. These are the best camera settings for great images in a fast-paced environment.
It will take practice because sometimes kids move too quickly for us adults to keep up! The entire photo session could be little ones running from one place to another.
The beauty of digital kids photography, though, is that shooting in continuous mode doesn’t cost you anything extra. It also gives you all the options you could want.
You will need a fast shutter speed if you want to freeze their movement. This is a great tip on how to photograph children in getting great shots.
Why You Shouldn’t Expect Perfect Shots All the Time
You may want to plan the shots. But when it comes to photographing children, especially little ones, be prepared for the unexpected.
This often means that the best moments are blurry or cropped too tightly. But they do capture an emotion that can’t be reproduced.
In these types of photos, the emotion overrules the need for a technically perfect shot. The camera settings don’t need to be perfect.
Don’t wait for the right moment, as it may never happen. Utilise the natural light in getting the best photo possible.
Focus instead on the child having special moments that you can capture. This will make for better children photography and separates snappers from professional photographers.
It’s said that you should never work with children or animals. With photography, though, children and animals can be the most entertaining subjects to work with!
The above tips will help you prepare for child portraits photography’s unpredictable nature. Before you know it, getting great photos of children will be like second nature for you.
A note from Josh, ExpertPhotography's Photographer-In-Chief:
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