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Photography Question 
Lynn A. Page

Children's portraits

Whew,I had my first portrait session with young children on Saturday. Completely different than the senior portraits I've done. Forgot how busy young children are, and I realized immediately that I had given the children to much control. The parents wanted to remain out ot the photo session reasoning the chilren would do better if they weren't visible. I'm not sure what my feelings are on this. Would the parents have reined in a little more control? Would that have totally changed the dynamics in capturing their natural expressions?

Even with the challenges in photographing young children, I'm hooked, I know this will be my passion as a photograher, to capture their images in beautiful candid moments. I just love the magic they are so unaware they posses.

That being said I'm in great need of some advise. I understand that controlling the photo session is my job as the photographer, but how do I create that fine balance without disrupting their play and interaction? My goal is to shoot the portrait sessions in natural outdoor environments.

Any tricks, ideas or suggestions would be greatly apprecited. I know this forum is a wealth of information and resources provided by photographers with more experience than I have. So much of much of my inspiration has been found here.

My children are now 20 and 22 so it's been a while since I've had that hands on experience with little ones.

I have so much to learn but I love the challenge.

Thanks for any advise you can offer.

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11/9/2009 8:50:15 AM

Clayton T. Williams
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/16/2006
  First let me say that I mostly do children and babies and still have not yet gotten completely comfortable with them. I am a semi-pro in that I haven't been doing this very long and am still learning new things while trying to get my studio going piece by piece so I may not be the best person to anwer this. Having said that, I always involve the parents in some way. Most of the time in the photo. However, I do have a few parents that completely refuse to get in the portrait with the kids. In this case I find it best to give them some sort of prop that is age appropriate but also being careful not to overpower the focus of the photo which is the child. Vic Orenstein has a GREAT class here if you are into taking classes called "Photographing Children and Babies" that I learned a ton from and would love to take a second time just to improve more on.

Now I have a question for you. you have some gorgeous work on your site. Especially Portland Head Lighthouse. Are you using HDR photography on these? How do you get such vibrant colors?


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11/10/2009 1:58:55 AM

Lynn A. Page   Travis. thanks for your response and suggestions. I will consider taking the class you recommended. I guess practice, practice, practice will help as well.

Thank you also for your comments. I sometimes use Topaz filters to help boost the colors in a portrait.

On the Portland Head Lighthouse my shot was actually pretty good to start with, the filter really enhanced the image
and popped the color even more.

I also checked out your portfolio, your work is pretty awesome, I can only hope to produce images with such quality. I love the children's portraits!

I'm going to keep at it.


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11/10/2009 6:35:03 PM

Clayton T. Williams
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/16/2006
  Thanks Lynn. Another thing I have done in the past when doing children and babies is not being afraid to take a lot of photos. I started out taking about 200-300 photos easy in a 1-2 hour session. That is a lot of images to go through but you would be surprised at how fast you can get through the images and just work on the good ones. I have been doing children and babies now for a couple of years and I have cut this number in half but taking a lot insures that you get some really good ones since children and babies don't "POSE" well. The other thing to remember with babies is don't expect to get one done in 30min to an hour. I usually set aside at least 3 hours and can get it done in about 1.5-2 hours only because you have to give them time to have breaks and feed and cry and be held etc. I hope I am not giving to much info or stuff you already know. It is just things I have learned doing this type of photography.

I am going to look for the Topaz filter in the next day or so and try it out. Thanks for the comments and info.


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11/11/2009 3:01:17 AM

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