Boy In Big Clothes - Holding Hat
© Vik Orenstein
All Rights Reserved
Trade Secret: Photographing Children is Doing What You Love
I've got a little secret: Working with kids is just plain good fun. Doing what you love is important in any creative endeavor and essential when it comes to photographing children. The good news is that it's easy to find the joy in photographing kids. In fact, I have the best job in the world!
Fun Children Photographs: Enjoy the Shooting Session
Once you accept that play is not just a frivolous recreation but a darned serious vocation for a child, and you learn how to play in ways that are appropriate for each child's interests and abilities, you'll have taken a big step toward establishing a successful working relationship with your young subjects.
Make the photo session something the child wants to do (i.e. have fun and play), and you'll have a much better chance of accomplishing your own objective - making fabulous portraits that you can be proud of.
Use Parents as Props When Capturing Fun Children Photographs
So how do I get pictures of the little dickens? Simple. I include mom or dad as a backdrop or a prop. I let the child keep hold of the leg; shoulder; hand, move in tight for a close up, use a long lens, and let the parent become a simple compositional element.
It's not a cop-out. It works. In fact, I like these shots so much I actually shoot them on purpose now and not as a last resort. Sometimes I set up the shot - "Mommy, will you come over here and stand on the spot and hold junior's hand?" - and sometimes I see a magic moment in between takes when a parent comes out onto the backdrop to comfort a subject, or spit on her hands and smooth down his/her hair, or change an outfit. I capture the shot.
This article has been excerpted from Vik Orenstein's excellent online course at BetterPhoto.com: Photographing Children.
About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Vik Orenstein
Photographer / writer Vik Orenstein owns and operates KidCapers portraits (formerly Kidshooters) and three Tiny Acorn Studios - both nationally recognized photography studios specializing in hand-colored child portraits. She has consulted as a child photography expert and shot for Nikon and Pentax.
Vik has shot commercially for such clients as Microsoft, 3M, and Hormel. She makes frequent television and radio appearances to give advice on how to make great portraits of kids.
She is the author of the Photographers Market Guide to Building Your Business and the classic Creative Techniques for Photographing Children (second edition).
Join Vik to learn how to make truly creative and wonderful pictures of kids or how to make the most of a studio lighting environment.