Aug 2, 2010

Kids! Kids! Kids!

Tips for photographing KIDDOS!
By: Stacie Hawley

As a photographer I get the pleasure of working with lots of different people - but I have to admit - little children are my favorite!   Full of life and spunk, you can get the most darling pictures of kids- if you know how to work with them!   I was asked to guest post – very exciting – and I decided to share some of my favorite kiddo tips and tricks!  Enjoy!

Get Comfortable - Be personal and genuine – take a few minutes to talk to the kiddos before the shoot.  You can ask a few questions, like “what is your favorite color,” or “what kind of ice cream do you like,” and then share your favorites with them.  Some kids will open up right away, others may be a little more reserved.  I like to show them my camera equipment, and tell them about what I do.  It’s amazing what a little conversation can do to build rapport.  Tailor each session to the child’s individual personality.

Be Patient - Kids are kids and sometimes they just need a break from shooting.  We’ll stop to look at the flowers, chase a butterfly, tell jokes – it doesn’t really matter what we do, because very soon everybody feels better and I can pull my camera back out.  When photographing children PATIENCE is the key.  Helping mom to understand this as well can be challenge, but before we even start the shoot, I try to talk with her about just letting me handle the situations that arise.

Get on Their Level - Become a part of their world.  Kneel, sit, lie down, do somersaults – anything works.  By the end of a session I am always covered in grass stains and dirt.  Ha ha.  This is also a great way to make sure you avoid awkward size distortions that can happen if you’re shooting from too high – sometimes though funky angles can be fun!

Natural Smiles - Embrace natural emotions and smiles – I promise it will be the best thing you ever do!  Child photography isn’t so much about posing, but allowing a child’s personality to shine through.  Photograph the kiddos in their natural environment – let them play.  Let them be themselves!  My favorite pictures are those that show emotion – surprise, joy, introspection, etc.  The key to great photography is to capture the true child. 

Happy Humor - Most kids are at their best when they’re laughing; it’s when the REAL smiles come out.  Children, and child photographers (ha ha), seem to have very silly senses of humor – so anything goes!  The more fun you have together, the better your pictures will be!  Have them come up with a funny name for your camera, tell a silly joke or sing the wrong words to a song, or ask them silly questions to crack them up.  My personal favorite is asking “does your daddy wear diapers?” – it works every time.

Be Quick - Most kids are a bundle of energy.  Have them run around, play pretend (tell the girls to be princesses or the boys to act like superheroes and watch the magic happen), or put on a show for you - once they start going, you have to be right behind them.  Bring low maintenance equipment, use a fast shutter speed, and snap away.  If you’re ready, you’re sure to get those wonderful spontaneous moments and action sequences that can’t be replicated. 

Showcase the Little Things - Parents also want to remember all the little things that will change about their child – their tiny hands, their chubby cheeks, their big eyes, their scrunchy toes, etc.  Get up close and focus in on the little details.  Capturing these will endear your photos to the parents forever.

Child photography can be truly rewarding if you follow these simple tips.  Trust yourself, have fun, and enjoy all those cute kids!
♥ ♥... Stacie


Lindzie said...

Hey! We're famous! :) You did such a great job, Stacie! Thanks again!

Amy said...

Such great ideas, Stacie! I use the "daddy wears diapers" all the time too :). Works like a charm!