Top Ten Tips for Photographing Children
Successful family photography with help from Venture Studios
The celebrated American comedy actor W.C.Fields reportedly once said “Never work with children or animals.” Many of us will understand exactly what he meant, especially if you have ever tried to take the perfect photograph of your child!
But at Venture Studios we very much want to see some of your family photography! We have two fabulous competitions running at the moment.
The first is our annual Little Face of Venture competition, where your child could be chosen to feature in Venture Studios campaigns during 2021. The competition and voting is open until 16th October, so make sure you don’t miss out!
Then we also have the very special Venture Studios Back to School competition to find the very best back to school picture out there. You can read more about the competition – and our tips on how to snap that winning back to school photo – in our Back to School Photo Challenge guide.
For more help on how to take some brilliant shots of your child, continue reading our fun tips for photographing children.
Know your kit
First and foremost, whatever type of camera you plan to use, make sure that you are familiar and confident with the best settings to use. Children tend to be fast and wriggly, so there is unlikely to be time for you to scroll through camera settings. So get set up before you start. For more detailed information on camera settings take a look at our article Ten Photography Tips for Beginners.
Get the lighting right
The second thing to fix before you start is the lighting. If you are outside this is not too much of an issue, as there should be plenty of natural light. But if you are inside you will either need to find as much natural light as you can – for example a large window or skylight – or consider using an additional source of light such as a flash.
If you do use flash, you need to be careful that this does not create too many harsh shadows. You might want to try an external flash pointed at the ceiling so that the light bounces off it and gives a more natural light. If you are going to do this, it’s essential to practise in advance so that you are not trying to juggle too many things on the day itself.
Choose a good background
As well as sorting out the lighting, you need to check that you have a suitable background for taking your photos. Whether you are inside or out, check for unsightly objects, clashing colours or anything else that could potentially be a distraction. The ideal is to find a gentle neutral background, that will focus the viewer’s attention on the subject of your photo.
Be happy with what the child is wearing
It is really important to make sure that you are happy with what your child is wearing. There is a delicate balance to be taken here. You don’t want to coerce your child into wearing something just because you like it, if it doesn’t reflect their personality. But on the other hand, if you are hoping to get some good shots that you are going to keep for a long time, you don’t want to cringe at what your child is wearing every time you look at those photographs.
So plan carefully something that your child will love to wear, is practical and comfortable for the photoshoot, and that you are completely happy with too.
Try different angles
Whilst taking your photos, do experiment with taking your shots from different angles. The natural thing to do is to get down to the child’s level, but it’s also worth trying some shots from higher up and lower down to get different perspectives.
But always remember the “rule of thirds”, where you aim to divide up your image mentally into a noughts and crosses style grid and place the subject on one or more of the four intersections of the lines. This helps you to create a well-balanced image with the child as the main focus.
Interact naturally with the child
Many of us hate to have our photo taken and children are no exception. So you need to keep everything as natural as possible. Don’t get to the point where you are trying to pose your child and demanding that they smile for the camera.
The best thing is to interact with them as normally and naturally as possible. Try to have funny conversations and get them relaxed and happy while you take the photographs. You will get a much more natural result.
Let the child play
Another tactic for getting natural photos of your child is just to let them play. Take your time and give them the opportunity to start doing the kind of things that they love to do anyway. Then start taking shots while they’re absorbed in what they are doing and not really taking any notice of you any more. Photos of your child in action can convey much more of their personality than any kind of posed shot.
Use props to help
It can work really well if you introduce props into the photoshoot. You can use these either to relax your child or actively include them as part of the photographs. After all, in years to come it would be great for your grown up child to be able to look at the photos and rekindle the memories of all their favourite things. And asking your child to choose some special things to feature in the photos can be another effective way of keeping them happy and motivated during the photoshoot.
However, returning to our opening quote, there will be times when your family photography session is not all sweetness and light. Children can get bored or tired or moody, and things can get difficult. So bear in mind that you will need to be patient and perhaps either take a break or change location or props if you are not getting very far.
Take lots of shots
Last but not least, take way more shots than you need. This is one of the golden rules of photography. The beauty of digital photography is that you can delete all the shots that do not come out well. But the more you take, the more chance you will have of getting that perfect shot. So rather than spend ages setting up one shot that you think will be wonderful and then be disappointed, snap away and you should end up with some great results.
Of course, at Venture Studios we have years of experience in photographing children (and animals too!). So an alternative to all the above is to bring everyone along to your nearest Venture Studios for one of our fabulous family photography experiences. You can then all relax and have fun, let someone else do all the hard work, and end up with some amazing family photography that you will be proud to show off in your home.