The personal blog of Kerri Singh, Artist, photographer and founder of 2Create.ca


Welcome, to what I would like to say, is my own little magazine. Featuring recent work by the Artists at www.2create.ca, Articles as well as tips on everything relating to Photography, and any personal thoughts and projects. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to pass them on to [email protected]. We love to hear everything. Enjoy your stay!!! |

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April 19, 2009

Top 10 tips for Photographing Children



Having photographed children for years the photographers at 2Create Photography wanted to share their experience and tips.If you have an accumulation of lackluster family snapshots, here are some great photo tips for kids and adults alike. No matter what your age, you can learn to take better pictures of children–siblings, cousins, offspring, friends–just by remembering to use a few simple children portrait photography tips.

1.Creative camera angles and cropping
Try shooting from directly above.
Digital cameras nowadays make this really easy, because you don’t have to hold the camera up to your eye all the time to see through the viewfinder — you can hold it out at arm’s length, tilted down a bit, and still get a good idea of what you’re shooting from the preview on the back of the camera.When you’re shooting at arm’s length from above the subject, it’s important to:
  • To start with, pick a subject who’s short. (Little kids are ideal.)
  • Always have them look up at you! (Otherwise you’ll just see a head of hair.)
  • Zoom your camera out as wide-angle as possible, but move the camera fairly close to the subject. This will emphasize the unusual angle, and also make it easier for you to keep the subject in the frame.
  • For shooting several people together, you can take picture by leaning over a balcony or stair railing and shooting down toward the floor below. This can make a fun family portrait.

Next, try shooting up at your subject(This usually means “ground level”, as anything lower than that takes a bit too much effort!) Tilt the camera up slightly so that you don't get too much of the ground in your photo.This gives you a completely different viewpoint that normal. This works well if the subject is looking away from the camera, for a more candid look.(Especially if kids are playing and you can take the photo without distracting them.)

Also make sure to get down to the child's level. Bend, kneel or lie down on the floor, if necessary, to get the best shot. You can't get good photographs of busy children from above their heads (at your own eye-level).

Cropping! Try few simple things.
Particularly when you’re taking pictures of kids, photos are usually all about their expression or their activity. The environment generally doesn’t have much to offer — a messy bedroom, a cluttered yard… not exactly National Geographic material. The biggest thing you can do to change this is, zoom in!
Here’s another idea to control your backgrounds even more: Rather than taking a photo from a few feet away as you normally might do, if you
back up twice as far from the subject but zoom in twice as much, the photo will show a much different background around the subject.

2.Go for the candid shots.
Take pictures of busy children doing the things they like to do. Don't expect them to stop and pose for the camera. Eventually they will forget about you and go on with their activities. Be like a fly on the wall. Just look for the best shots as they go about their business. Keep them thinking about everything but the photos. Surprise them with a toy you brought along. Encourage them to race against each other or play games. Have them spin around in circles until they’re dizzy, or start a tickle war. You want the photos to show their genuine excitement and emotion, and “say cheese!” usually doesn’t produce that!

3.Watch your background.

Adjust your vantage point to simplify or alleviate a busy background. A cluttered background distracts from your subject, so think simple. Use a bright blue sky, a green lawn or foliage, a sandy beach, a redwood or whitewashed fence or a plain wall as an outdoor background. Any solid or plain wall, drapes, bedding or carpeting makes a fine background for most indoor photographs. Make sure odd objects such as tree limbs or poles don't appear to be growing out of your subject's head.When photographing children locate your "photo spots", your backgrounds. Scout the area beforehand, alone if possible. If the location atmosphere needn't be in the photo then try to locate areas with plain backgrounds such as the sides of buildings, in front of hedges and trees and large empty expanses. Choose places where you can control the situation. Avoid areas that would distract your subjects. For example, if filming at the beach, locate a photo spot that doesn't have the children looking onto the beach. Kids love the water and soon they will be irresistibly pulled to it - and away from you, the photographer.

4.Dress for success

Select outfits for your kids that will look good in front of the camera:
  • Bright colors work great, and give a cheerful look to the photos. If the children are all wearing bright reds and yellows, take a few pictures against a clear blue sky for an exciting portrait.
  • It’s not important for the kids to all be wearing perfectly matching clothing, but it’s a good idea to have them dressed in similar styles (light or dark colors, long or short sleeves, etc.)
  • You don’t want the outfits to distract from the faces and emotions in the pictures, so it’s best to avoid patterns or designs with too much contrast.
5.Use interesting and unusual props. Colorful climbing toys at the park make great backdrops for creative photography. Take pictures of the children climbing and poking their heads through openings. Use jungle gyms and crawl-through tubes as frames for informal portraits.

6.Get out the camera on overcast days. Instead of harsh, unflattering shadows and squinty eyes caused by bright sunlight, cloudy days mean soft lighting and photographs that can be especially pleasing.

7.Avoid using a flash when possible, even indoors.
A flash flattens children's faces, especially babies, and often causes red-eye. Instead, move the children near a brightly lit window for softer, more natural light. Another option (if you have the equipment) is to use an indirect flash by tilting your flash unit upward so that the light bounces from the ceiling. (This only works with a white or light-colored ceiling.) A third option is to use a digital camera and turn off the flash feature. A digital camera can usually take a decent indoor picture using ordinary lighting; however, you must not move the camera and your subject must remain still or the photo will be blurred. Choose to photograph a quiet activity, such as reading, playing a board game or sleeping.

8.Find the best format for your composition.
Flip the camera to check which format works best: vertical (portrait), or horizontal (landscape). Try both if you're not sure. A close-up or a headshot is great, but for a full body portrait, don't cut off a part of the body, such as the top of a head or the feet, which immediately draws the viewer's eye. And, of course, avoid photographing your own shadow or your reflection in a window. try shooting from directly above.

9.
Shoot photos like crazy.
Camera memory sticks are cheap, and hold hundreds of photos. Don’t wait for the “perfect moment” to magically appear… when a scene starts looking halfway decent, start clicking away like your life depends on it! It’s easy to throw out the “rejects” later. After and hour I usually come away will a few hundred images that I will narrow to 40ish final portraits.

10. Go somewhere different.Give your kids (and yourself) a change of scenery for the afternoon. They’ll be more excited, and it will make your photos more interesting! A park or playground works great, or if you’re near the ocean or a river or lake, that can be a big hit too. Take along props. Simple kid-sized chairs or other things you have sitting around the house can make photos look a lot more interesting!

If you practice using these tips, you’ll soon see great improvement in your child portraits and all of your family photography. For more information and help contact me at www.2create.ca

1 comments:

doingmything said...

Thanks you.....great tips.

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