Every parent knows how hard and sometimes how frustrating photographing kids can be. They run, they don’t like to pose, they get bored fast and most importantly they don’t really appreciate your efforts 🙂 This is why many of my friends ask me for tips for Photographing Kids.
Here is a small guide with a few examples to improve your kids photos. Please read on! Expect a second part of this article soon with more technical advice (cameras, lenses, settings, etc..)
- Have patience. This is an obvious one, but still we need to constantly remind ourselves of that. Kids may be super shy at first or on the contrary can be open and playful but easily bored. Don’t get discouraged if you are not getting good shots for a while. Observe them and try to “predict their movements”. Visualise the shot in advance and work towards getting it. Having a goal in mind is always a good idea but don’t get stuck to it.
- Keep your camera close and always be ready. I almost never schedule photographing sessions with my daughter. Why? Because I can rarely stick to them. And I find that posing kids works for kids and at certain ages, but definitely not for everybody. It is much better to photograph the kids as they are. Do you want spontaneous and real photos? Just let them be. Read more on the next point.
- Let your kids run the session. This is probably the best advice I can give you. You can always pick the location and the time of day, but for the rest just trust your kids. Letting them be will give you more than enough photo opportunities. Observe them, follow them, play with them and when the moment comes be ready. Learn to anticipate what might happen, and where you need to be to capture it.
- Get close or go far away. It is always a good idea to stick close to your kids when photographing them. Even better get down to their level, and I mean that quite literally – if they are lying down, change your perspective by doing the same. Trying to always photograph them from the same distance or height will result in similar pictures. It is maybe wise to invest in a wide angle lens if you don’t already have one. Sometimes you will want to include more of the surrounding background and give more context to your photos.
- Don’t have unrealistic expectations or strict action plans. Looking at photos on internet and trying to replicate them will eventually lead to many frustrations. This is not how you need to approach photographing your kids. All kids are different and you can’t expect them all to behave in the same exact way.
- Be fun! I am not the funniest guy in the world, but at least I know how to make my daughter laugh and I am not afraid to act like a “clown” if I have to. I am not afraid to get dirty, I will kneel or lay down on the ground, I will climb trees, jump, hide, basically whatever I have to in order to get the best shot.
- Experiment!!! This is very important in order to improve your photography and get interesting and creative photos. Experiment with your composition, with light, with your shutter speed, choose interesting angles or locations (don’t forget to visit soon for the second part of this article with more technical and creative advice!).
A few words about the technical side of things (More technical and compositional tips to come in Part II of the article – please subscribe to my newsletter to get notified).
Before I give you some advice about cameras and lenses here is my setup to photographing kids. In the past 2 years I have photographed my daughter almost exclusively with a mirrorless camera by Fuji and just one lens (Fuji X-Pro2 and Fujinon 23mm F1.4).
Why? Because simplifying my equipment lets me focus on what’s important. I know my camera and lens and know where I need to stand to get the result I want. This may seem restricting at first, but in time your camera setup will become an extension of your arm.
I get so many questions from clients and friends about what camera and lens to buy to get better photos from their family vacations. If I have to give you a general idea: every relatively new model DSLR or mirrorless camera (with interchangeable lenses) is able to produce high quality photos. As for lenses I would get one all round zoom lens – for example Canon 17-40mm F4 (even the kit lens 18-55mm will be enough if the budget is lower) and one prime lens for photos when it gets dark and for portraits with nice bokeh, for example Canon 50mm F1.8. This will give you an option to photograph in all possible conditions without the need to sell your car to fund your photography hobby 🙂