Are you looking for a few tips to improve your child photography skills? Look no further! Here are 10 tips written by professional photographer (and regular Telephoto.com contributor) David Taylor.
Getting the Low Down
Shoot at the eye-level of the child. It looks decidely odd when photos are shot looking down from an adult’s perspective, unless this is deliberately done for effect.
Keeping It Real
It can be difficult to get natural shots of children. Kids often love to play up for the camera. Fortunately, children often also have limited attention spans. Let the child get used to the idea of the camera – and perhaps even bored with the attention – before shooting the naturalistic photos.
Little and Large
For a fun effect, use props or locations that help to emphasise how small children are. Striking photos can be created by having the child wear adult clothing such as shoes or hats, which – as a bonus! – will help keep the child entertained too. Another thing to try is placing the child in adult-sized furniture, such as a large armchair.
Shoot with the drive mode set to Continuous. This means you can shoot a burst of shots to ensure you capture a particular moment. Don’t be too free with the frames though. You don’t want to spend hours and hours editing hundreds of virtually identical shots afterwards…
Shoot with fairly wide- angle lens so that youcan more easily follow active children and keep them in the frame. Tighten up the compositions later by cropping them in post-production.
The Eyes Have It
Use face or eye-detection if your camera has this option. Slightly out-of-focus eyes in a shot are strangely unsettling. Combining Continuous focus mode with face-detection will increase your chances of precise focusing, particularly if the child is actively moving around.
Making Light Work
Shoot in good light whenever possible. That doesn’t necessarily mean perfectly sunny days, but light that creates an interesting effect, such a creating a spotlight so that the child is the centre of attention in the photo.
A happy smiling child makes for wonderful photo opportunities. But childhood isn’t all fun and games. Shoot when the child isn’t smiling too, so that all aspects of their life is captured.
Don’t hide your face behind your camera if it can be avoided. Keeping eye contact with a child will help to keep him or her interested in what you’re doing. Use the rear screen to check composition rather than the viewfinder.
If you trust them – and if they old enough to understand – get the child to take their own self-portraits. Phones are ideal for this purpose, cameras fitted with 400mm telephotos less so.
The above 10 tips were taken from the ‘101 TIPS TO MAKE BETTER PHOTOS’ ebook.
If you would like to find out what the other 91 photography tips are, please click here to download a free copy of the book.
David Taylor is a British award-winning landscape and travel photographer, who was born and raised in Newcastle upon Tyne and now lives in the ancient market town of Hexham, Northumberland. He took his first photograph at the age of 14, when his parents gave him a Kodak Instamatic for Christmas, and he has been taking photographs ever since.
His landscape photos have been used in publicity materials by local businesses, councils and tourism organisations, such as the Northumberland National Park Authority. He has also supplied images and articles to both regional and national magazines including Living North, Countryfile, Black & White Photography and Outdoor Photography.