Better Children's Photography

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CC BY-ND 2.0 | Source

Portraits are photos of people. Most are taken in a photo studio and are posed. Often with posed photographs you can tell that the subjects are tense, rigid, or nervous.

This is normal because we are self conscious of how we look.

Children on the other hand rarely are conscious of how they look. Sometimes taking their photo is just a "get it out the way" moment for them.

The best photographs of children take place when they are the least interested in the person behind the camera taking their photos.

Off course as they become teenagers they become more self conscious than ever and the process becomes more difficult.

Not that they will not pose for you, but that they find it hard to hide their state of mind. They are now becoming mini-adults and like adults how they are perceived by others takes an ever increasing more important role in their lives.

Most portrait photographers take their shots when the child is posed, but a large number of quality photographs can be done if they are taken while the children are involved in other activities and are too busy to pay attention to you. This is often called candid photography.

Children at play demonstrate emotions and characteristics of the human persona that would be otherwise impossible with posed photos.

Photographing children where they are most comfortable, like their home or play area often produces the best shots. This can also be accomplished in the studio.

Give something to the child that captures their attention and involves them. They do not have to be looking at the camera when the image is snapped, but rather when they are not looking at the camera. Their expressions become more natural and relaxed.

Great shots can be produced while children are interacting with other children. A whole study of human interaction can be made from such shots.

Their look of amusement, confusion, wander, joy and surprise are easily apparent during such interactions.

Babies are natural photographic subjects. Their innocence and charm radiates from their face.

Take the opportunity of photographing them during playtime, interactions with the mother or father, a sibling, when playing with pets, when they are asleep, eating.

A good technique is to offer them a plaything to capture their look of intrigue as they discover what the toy is about.

Do plan ahead when photographing children and especially babies. They will be less apt to being photographed is they are hungry, sleepy , tired or not amused by all the racket.

Clothing them in uncomfortable outfits does not help, if it's hot or too cold they will also not be good photo subjects, just like adults.

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CC BY-ND 2.0 | Source
CC BY-ND 2.0)
CC BY-ND 2.0) | Source
CC BY-ND 2.0
CC BY-ND 2.0 | Source

Plan shots at the park while they play with nature, leaves, flowers. Provide them with props such as nets for catching insects, or for catching fish at a lake or pond.

Their natural intrigue will lead them to completely immerse themselves in the activity and truly provide you with ample opportunities to photograph.

Give boys hats to try on and pretend to be adults. Give girls necklaces, hats, mommy's shoes or clothing, a purse.

Have them serve "play tea", introduce pets such as puppies. Can you think of a better cuter photo than that of a child playing with an adorable puppy?

Studio photos have their occasions but for true children photography at its best, nothing works better than those images which are taken while they are totally candid and just being themselves.

Capture moments on special occasions too such as birthday parties. Let them be themselves, if they happen to get cake all over their face, even better. If they get their faces dirty from playing at the park, the look becomes an adorable one.

Photographs moments shared with their parents such as a a mother reading to her child, feeding a baby, the baby's bath time etc. There is an abundance of instances were children can be photographed.

Take advantage of such moments. Soon they grow up and the time seemed like yesterday when they were kids. Use today to capture an image that is pure innocence.

© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez

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Comments 16 comments

TajSingh 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Luis. Thanks for sharing your tips for photographing children.


Samantha_Marie profile image

Samantha_Marie 5 years ago from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Hello Luis, thanks so much for your great tips. I'm always photographing my children and looking for ways to improve the shots. Great advice!


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 5 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Luis, thanks for all these good tips and advice on taking photos of children .


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 5 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

Thanks for sharing more useful information Luis!


Kayleesnider profile image

Kayleesnider 4 years ago from USA

Great hub. And it really gives an outstanding idea.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Kayleesnider: Thank you very much


charlesxavier04 profile image

charlesxavier04 4 years ago from London

Voted up for being useful. Love photographing children at play and catching their innoncence on film. Can anyone recommend a suitable camera?


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Charlesxavier04: Try the Canon EOS series film or digital


charlesxavier04 profile image

charlesxavier04 4 years ago from London

Thanks for the heads up Luis - will investigate online!


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

charlesxavier04: thank you


corascollection 4 years ago

Thanks for the useful tips, great hub.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

corascollection: Thank you


jainismus profile image

jainismus 3 years ago from Pune, India

Great tips and photographs. Thank you for sharing.

Shared with followers.


vandynegl profile image

vandynegl 3 years ago from Ohio Valley

Your pictures here are beautiful! I have recently purchased a decent camera to take special pictures, specifically of my children. I had a professional take pictures of them last year while playing at the playground, and immediately knew that it was something I had to do myself! Like you said, you can capture so many more expressions and moments with them being their natural selves. Thank you for sharing!


iguidenetwork profile image

iguidenetwork 3 years ago from Austin, TX

Thanks so much for your tips Luis! Sometimes photographing children is a bit of a challenge but it's always worth it! :)


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 3 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

iguidenetwork, vandynegl and jainismus: thank you very much

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