Children can often be very difficult to photograph well. Yet, with careful thought and attention, amazing results can often be obtained
Children can often be very difficult to photograph well. They move constantly, will not sit still, require you to move your body to get unique angles, and are never ready when you are. The perfect shot exists only for a moment and second chances are almost impossible to get. Adding fill flash or reflector light into the frame can make the difficult almost impossible. Yet, with careful thought and attention, amazing results can often be obtained. By paying attention to the emotion they portray, the perspective of the shot, and ensuring that our photographs are sharp, even with a quick moving subject, we can capture those perfect memories in a striking way.
Children show plenty of emotion. They a tendency to smile, laugh, and cry with all of their ability and capturing these moments will bring life to your photographs. For a long time I would follow my toddler around with a camera, getting myself in a comfortable position, and then calling her name in the hopes that she would turn around with the perfect smile. This method rarely worked and my photos lacked the emotion I was looking for.
By staying one step ahead of her, moving myself into the necessary positions, and making myself less distracting, I was able to obtain the emotion I was looking for to capture the moment.
Get on their level. Do not force a child to follow your lens on top of your almost immobile 6 foot frame. Stoop down to your hands and knees and see the world from their perspective. You may have to run, make yourself uncomfortable, and look a little stupid in the process, but moving the camera instead of the child will make a world of difference in your photographs.
Pay attention to focus, especially if you are shooting at a wide aperture. Obtaining sharp focus on a quick moving child can be a sport in and of itself. I recommend switching to a continuous or AI focus mode, selecting a predetermined focus point, and positioning your subject’s eyes directly on your focus point. This will keep your subject in focus, even as they move towards or away from you, as long as you can keep them inside the focus point. If you are photographing more than 1 child, you may need to close your aperture to leave more depth in focus, and never focus on the child furthest away from you. The area in focus will always be greater behind your subject than in front of them leaving more children in focus.