Photographing Children + Children’s Things

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Child photography tips techniques

Ilene Squires specializes in baby and child photography. Her easy demeanor around children and families enables her to capture natural, beautiful moments and create a photographic essay. We’re very pleased to partner with Ilene in this guest blog post where she shares her advice for child, toddler and baby photo shoots.

Child photography ideas

Many times when I shoot children, babies and toddlers, parents tell me the same thing: “I shoot my kids all the time and only one of hundreds of pictures comes out!” OR “I just hold the shutter down and hope for the best.“I have a few tips for parents in search of quality photos and am always available for Q & A regarding this. Here goes!

  1. Buy an SLR camerapoint and shoots and phone cameras are just not that good.
  2. If you know nothing about photography, accept that and move on to shoot in semi-automatic. I personally prefer AV or aperture priority. The lower the number the less focused the background will be (i.e. f 2.0). The higher the number, the more focused everything will be.
  3. Google what semi-automatic means and stop fussing with manual settings with your toddler! They move quickly and you don’t have time!
  4. Get down to their level; meaning, eye level with your subject {see photo below}.

Here, I am down, eye level with the blocks, approximately 1 foot away. This same strategy applies to children too!

Here’s the final look. Shooting with Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f1.2 lens ||  ISO 250 || f 2.8 || 1/8000

    5.   Flash is almost NEVER flattering {esp when you don’t know how to use it}, shoot outside in open shade or indoors near a window. This was shot in the middle of the day, which is the least optimal time as the sun is directly overhead. Ry to shoot just after sunset or just before sunrise for the best lighting. Pablo is backlit (creating the glow), sun reflected off the concrete BUT he is standing under a tree, in the shade to shield the direct sunlight.

This photo is shot under the same circumstances. It is the middle of the day but the children are sitting on a bench, under a tree. Shooting with Mamiya; 85mm f2.8 lens ||  ISO 400|Kodak Porta Film| f 2.8 a5 1/60th

Sebastian is sitting in front of a large window which is directly behind me, front lighting him and the horse. Shooting with Mamiya; 85mmf2.8 lens ||  ISO 400|Kodak Porta Film| f 2.8 a5 1/60th

  6.  Directing kids to say “cheese,” will create a generic photo, one I am sure you have a
million of. Or they may not respond to you all together! Instead, have your child act {Try these directives: BE sad, BE happy, JUMP up, DANCE!} and catch them in the act. These directives promise to produce more natural images.This rascal here was a fire cracker, and refused to smile for the hour we had already spent together. At the end of the shoot, as a last attempt I layed down on the grass. Naturally, she followed and I told her to “roll down the hill,” shooting this image “mid roll.”

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