Photographing Images of Innocence
Innocence is one of the few qualities that are most sought after or admired, especially in children. We as adults always long for those innocence filled days when we were young and not aware of all of the vicissitudes that life brings. Innocence can also be shown in photographs through a keen eye and some artistic vision.
There are many subjects that can be utilized by a photographer to represent innocence and not all of these subjects have to be people. Some things have a "sense" of innocence attached to them and there are also many samples that can be found withing nature itself.
Babies are usually the number one subject to showcase innocence; a sleeping baby, a baby nursing from its mother's breasts, the tender look of a baby and the same applies to small children too. Capture samples like this in close ups whenever possible. A baby's most eloquent features are always the eyes and that ever present sparkle withing. For other situations, especially if the child is with a parent, then a better photo would encompass the baby's face and some parts of the parent; enough to make the parent recognizable as a father or a mother but not so much that it will distract from the main point, with that being the baby's face and eyes. With baby's photos it is best to use a softening filter that hides small imperfections and rounds off (blends) sharp angles.
Kids playing together, especially if their game resembles some adult theme; like mom & pop, a fireman, policemen or war; to them its just a game of pretenses, they are not yet fully aware of the realities associated with each role, and it is this naivety that brings out an air of innocence. Children dressed up in adult clothes such as mommy's skirt and shoes or daddy's hat and shirt and tie, a little girl looking in the mirror while putting her mother's lipstick on, a young boy pretending to shave and so on represent this theme quite well.
For nature focus on small animals such as fledgling, babies, and even some adult specimens. The image must appear as having a semblance of innocence to you the photographer, if it does not it will not to your audience either. Some of the best subjects found in nature are images of babies and its parents especially if the images are of mammals; such as dogs, cats and primates. Likewise, any animal photo that captures an instance of innocence or an unrealistic image can also be applied to this theme; good examples would be baby animals interacting with other animals of completely different species, sometimes born enemies.
Innocence can also be found in flowers; but they should be exceptional specimens and recorded isolated from other details. Butterflies work well too. You must understand that innocence can be derived from any image where the subject appears to be naive, pure, trusting or unaware of any perils, very tender or fragile. Any image that can represent any of these is useful in showcasing innocence.
As with the use of a softening filter for close up of a baby's face, these filters also work well with most any subject where you want to blend any any rough edges and hide small imperfections. The filters also reduce the image quality, albeit very slightly. But overall their pleasing effect outweigh any reduction in quality. They also create a "dreamlike" effect, but like with any filter, use judiciously.
If doing any of these shots in a studio, then consider using filtered light to heighten the effect as this type of light will avoid creating harsh shadows. With an innocence theme one should also avoid using strong colors as well as strong colored backdrops especially red as some colors do not enhance but rather distract from the theme.
Many of these images are regularly used by the greeting card industry, poster industry and general photographic publications. The can also be regularly submitted to photographic stock houses as many of them are used in advertising campaigns, public relations efforts, the social arena, by non-profit groups as well as in other themes. Many of these photos can be sold individually to the public and this can lead to a specialization in portray and children photography.
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