When it comes to photographing kids, portraits can be a little tricky to pull off. This is especially true for toddlers under the age of five: they move around a lot! This necessitates the need for a unique approach: digital photography. Digital is designed for movement. With it, you can let your kids be free to do as they please and still get some great photos.
In a way, that should count as the first tip for taking photos with kids: go digital. However, since everyone has already gone digital these days, you may need something extra to make those pictures stand out. Well, here are some of the best tips to help you take great photos with kids.
1. Be patient
Patience is the name of the game when photographing kids, especially toddlers. Attempting to take one of those family photos will often yield nothing for a while. Kids can be hyperactive and not sit still at all. Or they may do the exact opposite of what you want and act shy when you want them to be active.
Be patient and try to make a connection with them. Let them do their thing for a while and eventually, they will come out of their shells and give you the opportunity you have been looking for. Don’t try to force things and it will eventually happen naturally.
2. Do not try to control everything
When photographing toddlers and young kids, it is quite hard to control them. Well, why not just let them run the session?
Don’t try to make them do anything. Let them do whatever they want and you’ll still get great shots. If they do not follow your plan, don’t get mad. This will only make things worse. Don’t yell at them (which often happens a lot with family photos!) because this will only make future photo sessions that much harder.
Go with the flow and be ready for anything. It should be a fun experience for everyone, so go in with that frame of mind and you will not be disappointed!
3. Take the pictures at their level
This is another great tip. Going down to a toddler’s level, for example, will make them look larger than life. Photography from an adult’s perspective will only make them look smaller.
You should also consider taking part in whatever they are doing. Get dirty, get coloring, and get interacting while taking pictures at the same time. This will give you some of the best shots.
4. Keep them active and entertained
You know what you get when you have a bored kid at a photography session? No photo shoot! When kids get bored, your chance for getting the best photo is gone.
You want to keep them active and entertained. What activities could you have them do? Can you have the run or jump or dance for the camera? You should also consider having a few props ready with you, which will come in handy when energy levels start to drop.
An entertained toddler or any other young subject is exactly what you need for those happy, excited shots that everyone loves so much.
5. Be careful about lighting
Lighting can be rather tricky sometimes. As a rule of thumb, always use natural light unless there isn’t enough light or if the light isn’t good. Then you should add flash.
It is easy to tell when there isn’t enough light, but how do you know whether the light you do have is good or bad? Well, this is where your experience and intuition should kick in. Generally speaking, strong overhead lights and bad backlighting might necessitate the use of flash. You can also experiment with supplementing good natural light with flash. Just play around with it until you get a style that works for you.
6. Carefully select your focus mode
In truth, moving subjects are among the trickiest to capture. You need to make sure that all your camera settings are spot on. Even then, there is still a lot of trial and error involved.
Modern digital cameras come with different focus modes. The best one for photography involving kids is the one for tracking focus or continuous focus. In this mode, the camera does not lock focus but tracks any moving objects in the field. This will ensure that your image is always sharp despite the motion.
7. Let them be themselves!
Photographing kids should be fun. You need to let them be themselves so they can enjoy the experience, too. Also, don’t be afraid to join in the fun. Get silly and play with them and don’t care too much about how you look to other adults!
8. Be ready for anything
You’ll always get the best photos when you least expect it. When dealing with kids, be ready for anything. Anticipate what might happen and be ready to shoot. Be ready to move fast as well. Also, do not forget to have the right lens on and to make sure your settings are all good. Some of the best moments barely last a few minutes.
It is OK not to get that perfect shot...
When working with children, do not beat yourself up when you do not get perfect shots every time the camera clicks. Planning is one thing, but actually getting the shots is a completely different story.
So what do you do when you think you got an amazing moment, but it turns out cropped or blurry? Well, nothing! Sometimes, the emotions that have been captured are superior to those technically perfect shots.
Therefore, sometimes, just throw the rule book out the window. Forget about camera settings and waiting for that perfect moment. Focus on what is happening in front of you and capture it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!
So there you have it. With these tips, taking those photos with kids should be a little easier for you. Whether you are looking to take great family photos, vacation photos, or just practicing your photography skills on your kids for fun, hopefully, these tips will elevate your final output and make your photos look almost professional. Good luck!