Child Photography

Professional Children’s Portraits – 5 Tips for Success

In my work as a pro photographer I would guess that a good 70% of my images are of children. As a result I have discovered various methods of achieving the completely natural images that people love. There are many things to remember when trying to capture children s images. There are some methods that work and some that don t, here are a few hints that I have learned along the way…

Professional Children's Portraits - 5 Tips for Success 1The key to striking kid’s photos is to have the action look natural. If you can capture natural expressions and actions, then you’re already on your way. Here are some of the different techniques for taking great kid’s portraits:

One important point: never rush into anything. Taking great children’s portraits requires a lot of patience. This article contains a few tips to help you along on your quest to take great kid’s portraits.

When working with kids, especially if it is your first time, you will need to deal with the shyness factor of the kids. Gaining a child’s trust in a short time is a skill which you will do well to learn. One major factor in helping to gain a child’s trust is the location where you work. If you work in an environment that they are more familiar with, like their home or an outdoor environment, it makes the task easier. The children will be more relaxed at these locations rather than in your studio environment.

After arriving at your location, set about building a rapport with the child. This will help elicit a more natural reaction which is what you need. As a rule of thumb, don’t bring your photographic equipment onto the scene until you have achieved a sense of trust with the children. In most ways, this even helps put the parents at ease. Keep in mind that each child has his own individual personality and there is no one step approach to building up a rapport. You will need to remember some basic tips and play it by ear.

Get your times right

During the early years, everything revolves around a schedule. Kids will have times for all their routines such as play, food and sleep. Try to find out a little bit about the individual times each kid has and schedule your visit during this time. Anything out of this and you’re likely to have a less than smooth experience.

Keep it light and fun!

As always with kids, you get the best photographs when they are acting themselves. Natural expressions of laughter and joy make for very compelling photographs. The trick to getting these natural expressions is to engage the kids in a fun activity and then gradually blend into the background where they don’t notice either you or your camera.

Kids under 4 years can be easily distracted with something simple like a bubble machine. You’re bound to easily blend into the background when that machine starts up and be able to get some great smiling, laughing kids. For kids older, look for something that is engaging and colorful like a remote controlled car. Following this simple guideline will not only help you get good pictures, but make you very popular among the kids as well!

Don’t rush things

If you ask any parent, they will tell you their own ways of getting kids to comply with their requests. Often, this is usually a difficult task if you try to force the issue. Any kid who is forced into doing something may resist and this may escalate into a full blown tantrum.

If a child decides he is not going to do something, then he’s going to stick to that notion the more you try to make him do it. Here, what you want to do is to make them want to do what you ask. Praise them frequently and tell them what a great job they are doing. If you run into some resistance when you ask once, don’t dwell on the issue. Move on to the next thing and when you’ve been doing that for a while, come back to the original request. In a large number of cases, they will comply without any resistance and you will get the pose you want.

Preparation is key

Working with kids and animals can get you the most unpredictable behavior possible. This can either be good or bad. If you look at the good points of unpredictability, then you need to always keep your camera on and ready. Sometimes the most innocent, impromptu action like petting a puppy or throwing stones into a river can make some great shots. When you’re around kids always keep the camera ready to catch those unexpected moments.

By learning these few points and using them in your daily routines, your next job photographing kids will be more enjoyable for both you and your subjects.

Getting children to pose properly can be easy and fruitful. Here’s a down-loadable easy, step by step guide I like all about controlling posing and poses.

I hope this has been of some help,

Ray Baker