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Photography Question 

How to Shoot a Portrait of a 2-year-old

I have just started receiving requests to take portrait shots and would very much appreciate any insight about the following:
- What type and speed of 35mm film is recommended to shoot portraits indoors (without a lot of natural light) vs. outdoors. I'd like the end result to produce really soft shots.
- Any soft focus filters recommended?
- Would you recommend setting a camera to bracket while shooting portraits?
Thank you for your time. I so look forward to hearing back. I'm new to the field, but so very passionate about it.

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3/22/2004 12:44:04 PM

Rhonda L. Tolar   In my amateurish opinion, taking pictures of children always seem to go better when the child is preoccupied with something besides you taking pictures. Have the mom bring several outfits, including their pj's, and also the child's favorite toy. Then just sit the child down to play, back away as far as you can, and start shooting.

The child doesn't have to be looking at the camera, and if you want him to in some of the shots, don't call his name. Instead, have someone behind you make a noise - but nothing loud - just something to make the child look your way in curiosity. Outside would be better; then the child wouldn't be distracted by the flash.

Go to a playground and just let him play. Even let him get dirty, since those sometimes make the best pictures - where they are captured in their natural state! Good luck!

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3/22/2004 2:58:55 PM

Jordan    In my amateurish opinion, I totally agree as well. Photographs with children acting in a natural setting tend to work better. Try to use as much natural light as possible. For a film, I'd recommend Kodak Portra 160NC. I just got a roll of it developed and was very surprised at how realistic the colors were - very good for skin tones.

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3/22/2004 5:19:52 PM

Shirley D. Cross-Taylor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/7/2001
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  I've had great results with toddlers by covering my husband's large recliner with a neutral colored blanket or sheet and setting the child there with an attractive toy. I have two studio lights, one with a small softbox and one with a bounce umbrella. This setup works fine, and once the child is settled with the toy, does not seem to mind the flashes at all. I have the parent stand to whichever side I want the child to look when we need him/her to look up. You can use a bit of white nylon or gauze over you lens for softness, or put some K-Y jelly on a UV filter. I do not recommend bracketing. Use a good flash meter at the beginning to get your readings.

After saying all this, I do think a nice setting outdoors is easier for exposures, but will be harder to keep the child in one place, as their tendency will be to run around.

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3/23/2004 12:57:32 PM

Michael F. Millay   Hey Angela - I Do NOT Specialize in Portraiture- but Love to shoot My friend's Mini-Humans.
I Offer This-after 30 Years with a (9) Camera(s).

1. Many Good points by Rhonda & Others.

2. If a TWO year-Old, DRUG Them Heavily !!

3. For Most Kids, try to get 20-60 Minutes With No camera or lights- just to Get to Know The Punk, and so they Will relax around you.

4. Sometimes, you may want to "Kick The parents Out!" i. e. Kid Shooter's Worst NightMare is a Parent or other saying "Smile Becky" - "Smile"- "Look over Here"-Smile" > > SHUT-UP! <

5. Not Mentioned above, possibly the most Common Mistake made is Shooting "DOWN" on Kids. Get on you Knees ! Get on Your Belly!
Get your Sticks DOWN to 30 inches or Less !

6. Have a Stereo Ready with "Easy" Music - and a Remote. REMOTE!


8. Have Heavy Drugs Nearby for YOU! KIDDING!!

... World's Gratest Uncle -Sharpshooter

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3/23/2004 10:29:08 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Obviously no chocolate for the guy taking the picture either.

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3/24/2004 1:54:12 PM

Marla Drayton   These are all great ideas. One thing I wanted to mention is to do it QUICKLY, as they don't have much of an attention span.

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3/24/2004 2:37:38 PM

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