Here are a few things to remember while photographing children.
Making Children Pose
The most challenging aspect of children’s photography is making them pose for a photograph. The ideal way to frame them is actually not to make them pose. However, sometimes they need to sit or stand in a certain way for a particular photograph, for example, a passport photograph. Here, the children above the age of three can be instructed how to hold their bodies in specific positions. However, one has to let them take their time to do so. It is pointless to expect them to behave like adults and assume the right posture instantly. Children below the age of three would hardly understand what it needs to pose for a photograph. If you want to make them sit or stand in a particular way, then you have to wait for the right moment when they naturally do so.
Getting Their Expressions Right
Managing facial expressions, even in the case of adult, is difficult. It is more so in the case of children. The two most important aspects of the face are eye contact and smile. Although it is not mandatory to make eye contact or smile to look good in a photo, it is the easiest way to look cool. Here. however, technology can come to your rescue. There are cameras available in the market that are equipped with features such as smile detection and eye contact detection. A camera with the smile detection feature automatically clicks when the subject smiles. Similarly, the ones with eye detection feature take an automatic snap as soon as the lens meet the pupils of the subject. These are pretty handy devices to consider. If you have a more naturalistic approach, then you will definitely like to make the children smile at or give attention to you by using other means such as engaging them in a conversation or holding something in your hands that they would love to look at. But if you want to hold something in your hands, you have to first free your hands. You can use a tripod or any other stand to fix the camera at an ideal angle.
Finding the Right Direction
Whether you hold the camera or fix it on a tripod, deciding the angle from which the photograph is to be taken is crucial to the outcome of any photography. This general principle of photography to get the direction right is also applicable to children’s photography. There are two things to keep in mind while deciding the direction — the background and the subject. It is important to note how a child looks from a certain direction. What they wear or hold makes them look a certain way from a specific angle. Again, if they hold any object — let’s say a toy or a prop — it will have its best impact only from a specific angle. The other thing is the background. Ask yourself the question — “How does the background look from this direction?” Remember, the best snaps are the ones taken from a perfect angle.
Being in the Right Range
The range you decide to be in is just as important as the angle. The range is all about your distance from the subject and the height at which you hold the camera. It is seen that photographs that are taken from the eye level of the subject are the most alive. Children being much smaller than you, you may have to sit on the floor or even lie on your stomach for the right kind of appeal. Good children photographers get into all kinds of positions just for the sake of the ideal range. If you conveniently sit or stand while taking a child’s photograph, then be sure you have lost half the appeal. So far as distance is concerned, there is no ideal distance. However, in children photography, the closer you are to the subject, the better is the scope of capturing their best expressions and mannerisms which make them look the cutest.
Deciding on the Use of Flash
It is always good to use natural light for photography. However, at times you are bound to use the flash. It is better to use Automatic Flash while photographing children to ensure that it doesn’t hurt their sensitive eyes. They almost do not know that there was a click if you use this feature. External flash can be used while taking photographs of older children. But in any case, the flash should not directly strike a child’s eyes.
You can take it for granted that some children will just not cooperate once they are aware that their photograph is being taken. Apart from these technical aspects of photography, therefore, you need to have good ‘child skills’ to understand children better and to know how to make them do, in the most natural way, what you want them to, while taking their stills. Be as quick as the children are since most of them wouldn’t know how to hold a particular emotion or expression on their face. Small children, particularly, change moods within a few seconds and cannot hold any single expression for a long time. Be friendly and have a lot of patience while capturing them. Be alert to each of their cues and they will not disappoint you.