child photography

Never work with children or animals.

So when I write entries for this blog, I try to think of things that might be of interest to my dozens and dozens of... okay, maybe a dozen (hi mom!)  readers and things that I think helped me when I was starting out learning about photography.  Let's be honest, there are so many things to learn it can be a little overwhelming. I still remember picking up my cousins DSLR for the first time--this was weeks before I would get my camera--and taking a shot.  The picture turned out black... just black.  All... black.  So I've learned a lot and I promise, if this all seems a little overwhelming, that it will all start to click real soon.  But other than the technical aspects of photography, there are things you can do right away to help you take better photos.  So I was thinking about what most of us are taking pictures of these days.  If my Facebook feed is any indication, we're all taking just a few pictures of our kids.  I'm just as guilty as most.  There are a few that are worse than me, but they know who they are and there's not point in my singling them out here.  However, if you email me, I'll be happy to spill the beans (Her name might rhyme with Lennifer and Mennifer, but that's all you'll get from me).  So let's talk about how to take better pics of our kids.

Now in fairness, I could have even gotten down lower to her level, but it was important me for to keep the sink visible, as I thought that was an important aspect of this photo.

Now in fairness, I could have even gotten down lower to her level, but it was important me for to keep the sink visible, as I thought that was an important aspect of this photo.

There are a few thins that you can do to improve your kid photography that you'll see on almost any list. “Get on their level” and “Get Closer”, are the two that come to mind right away and they are both great ways to improve your kid shots. Now, just to make sure there's no confusion, we're talking about human "kids" not goat "kids".  However, if you are taking photos of goat kids and by that I mean people that are half human kid half goat, these principals still apply.

The top tip on any list you find is often going to be “Get on their level”. There is a reason that it should be as it is great advice and will make a big difference immediately. If you get down on the same level as a kid to take their photo, you give them power by allowing them to look into the camera straight on. Kneel down so that you become the same height as the child. Chat with your subject and engage them before just going right into taking their photograph. When the time is right, lift your camera and poof, snap the photos.  Try to wait until they're looking at the camera unless that's not the look you're going for.

Photography is a visual language and the angle with which you shoot the photograph is an important part of the story you are telling. Photography is a common language that even kids can understand and when you make the effort to physically go down to their level you allow them to be important and, well, the SUBJECT!

Kids are short and you may have to get on your knees to get their eye level, but now, go further. Come on, you can do it, lie down. You may be amazed at what the world looks like from the ground.  Babies and real little kids don't always cooperate, but if you get down with them, they may even enjoy it more and you can end up with some great  faces. 

If you have a fast 50mm lens, it's great to use it when taking photos of your kids. If they are busy, you will need to use a faster shutter speed to freeze the motion. Using a fast 50mm lens means you will be able to open up the aperture to allow you to use that faster shutter speed indoors and avoid triggering your flash. 

Almost as often, when searching for ways to improve your photos of children, you will be told to “Get closer.” Children’s faces are so cute and soft (does that sound creepy?) that it is great advice for you to fill the frame with them. Isolate the tiniest details by photographing in close on things like baby lashes, toddler lips going in for a kiss or the drips of an ice cream on their messy, smushy faces.

Okay, that's it for today.  Go take some pictures and put them on Facebook.  I'll be watching... even you Lennifer.