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Sunday, February 13, 2011

How to Capture the Essence of Children- 11 Tips to Photographing Energetic Adolescents

Children let out the deepest of emotions and tend do the most amusing things. They're always on some sort of quest and are on the move with seemingly unlimited energy. For those reasons, photographers pursue children as subjects (quite literally) and can have difficulty doing so. This blog post addresses the variety of challenges that children pose to photographers and how to get the best end results.

1. Quick Shutter Speed. Although experimenting with motion blur can sometimes enhance your shots, it can also ruin them.  With subjects as energetic as kids, you need to quicken up your shutter speed for the best results (like 1/1000 sec.).

2. Go Candid. Candid photographs make your shots have real emotion and allow you to really expose your subject's character. With children, candid photography is the best guarantee for consistently good photographs. Besides, your little subjects are likely to get restless with your posed shots.

3. When Posing Shots With Kids Make It Quick and Interesting.  To avoid the "are we done yets?" there are a few tricks you can try. For instance, work quickly, prepare for the shots ahead of time, experiment with different poses and expressions, incorporate comedy, and place your subjects in their "natural" environment.

4. Get on their level. When you get at someone's level you are entering their world and are making the subject feel more connected with the photographer.  This will allow you to better capture the child’s character.

5. Interaction is Key. Incorporating people and things (that your subject can interact with) into your images, helps to fuel the story you're trying to tell.

6. Eyes say it all. Focus on the eyes, because they tell the story of anyone’s soul. They're also one of the most distinguishing and interesting details to capture in youngsters. 

7. Continuous shooting. You should always expect action when approaching photography of children. Flipping your camera into burst mode ensures you never miss a moment. In other words, take lots of photographs because you never know what will end up to be worthwhile.

8. Fill the Frame. Getting closer to a little one helps you to become more intimate with your subject and capture them in a much truer light.

9. Don't stay in one place. In all likelihood, your subject won't stay still if they're of walking age, so you shouldn't either. Move around and experiment with different positions and angles.

10. Value Backgrounds. What is behind your subject can be just as important as your subject itself. Your backgrounds can isolate the topic of the image or can tell a story all their own.

11. Add Extra Omph with Composition. Adding certain compositional elements can enhance your photographs. Always be on the lookout for textures, patterns, symmetry, etc.

And one extra crucial tip...courtesy of a reader...

12. Patience. Cooperation is very hard to get from kids when a camera is pointing their way, so be patient. Not everything works because there is no formula to art. That's why you must let things take its course. Remember if you stay with a subject long enough, you might just be able to craft something worthwhile. 


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