I am currently sitting and honestly preparing for my first workshop on children's photography. And when I have my thoughts, why not write them down and leave a few tips for you, how I take pictures of children? I must mention at the outset that it is not an easy discipline at all. And being a big bearded uncle won't make it twice as easy. But training makes perfect, so don't worry. And if you remember at least a few of the following tips, you can do it!
1. Technique, setting, equipment and composition are NOT important
Don't have a manual setting in hand? Forget about it and calmly switch to the vending machine. Are you used to taking pictures from a tripod / monopod, using flash lights, reflectors? Throw them away. You will definitely take great photos on the manual and with super technology, but parents don't really care. Beautiful moments are important for them to remind them how wild, playful, sensitive, crazy their children were. Move the technique and perfect exposure to the other track. Mirrorless cameras are your great friends in this field. Trust continuous focus, eye focus, auto ISO, sequential shooting and possibly a full auto. Get rid of anything that would stop you from meeting point two.
2. Take pictures of everything, everywhere and all the time
You only have a limited time for photography with children, they usually do not hold attention and they do not enjoy anything for more than 15 minutes. Don't miss a great moment by having the camera just around your neck, thinking about the place, the composition or trying to arrange the child in a pose.
3. They lead the photo shoot, you adapt
Don't necessarily try to organize everything, plan and give orders, just adapt to what the children want. It will be fun! And you want them to enjoy it for as long as possible.
4. Be a child too
Lower yourself to their level. And I don't necessarily mean you have to poke your nose in. Squat and be at the same height as them. Show them your face, children can't communicate with the lens. Have fun with them, talk to them, make sounds, attract attention. Farting with the mouth and "uíííí" usually takes. Let them touch the camera (while taking pictures of them).
5. Support what they like
Do you take pictures of a child who likes to dance, sing, do gymnastics or just likes to hit a tree with a stick? Support him in what he likes to do. You get it and some extra attention.
6. Select a suitable location, not a suitable background
Choose a location where you can take pictures in all directions. Better a forest than one bush in a housing estate. Better a playground than one slide behind the house. Better a meadow than one flower bed under a window. Cough on the rocks! The children are explorers, let them run around, search and take pictures.
7. Use helpers
The fact that parents want to have their children photographed does not mean that they do not want to be in the photos either. Use them, let them "cooperate", play, cuddle. The photos over the shoulder are really magical and the child does not have to look at the camera. The parents 'view of the child helps you to draw attention in the right direction and you don't have to watch your parents' expression so much. You can use siblings in the same way. But always pay attention to one child, do not try to capture everyone present perfectly. Use other performers as simple accessories / bushes. By the way ... a child can't tickle himself.
8. Work their hands and attention
Is the child ashamed or is he too wild? Work his hands and attention with something else. Give them a stone or a twig you can find, their favorite toy, a lens cap, or a sweet reward.
9. He doesn't have to smile all the time
Don't force the whole "cheese" photo shoot. The children's mood changes every moment, try to capture a different mood than laughter. Watch and take pictures of them as they examine, think, get angry, cry. It simply belongs to children. Or don't take a picture of your face at all for a while, you don't have to! Focus on the details - hands, feet, toes. Or take a picture of the baby from behind. The moment you take a picture of him jumping into a pool (and calmly from behind) is better than all kinds of cheese.
10. Sit down!
Are you really not catching up and the baby is still running? There is nothing easier than to "fix" it somehow. Sit it on one of the parents' necks, on a chair, in the pool, in the bathtub, on a branch or anywhere else. Let Daddy blow your baby up. Just take his "freedom" for a while, but don't forget to keep his attention. The child can't just sit and smile.
11. Mainly take pictures
It's better to have one perfect moment than ten well-exposed, well-lit billboard-resolution photos, where everything else is simply missing. Don't miss the most beautiful moments by paying attention to something unimportant. Children are children, take pictures of them as they are, with what is typical for them. Parents will always remember that their child liked to jump into puddles than smile once in the studio of a uncle photographer.
BONUS 12. Get them used to the camera
Do you plan to take pictures of children in a week or two, for example? Ask your parents to take a picture of him a few times a day on a camera (or at least on a mobile phone). The child will get used to the fact that someone is taking pictures of him and will behave more naturally. Just remember how you behave and face you when someone starts pointing a camera at your face. Are you natural?