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Photographing Children can be a lot of fun – but also presents photographer with a variety of challenges. In this guest post the team at Aliph Aur Meem share 5 tips for photographing children to get you started.
Children are most expressive when they are being themselves. Give them a little too much direction and you could end up diluting the whole experience for both of you. This is really one of those times when you need to bring your photojournalism chops to the forefront, and genuinely be a bystander observing the kids being kids. If you want to change up the shot or try something else, instead of telling them what to do, have a conversation and lead them to where you want them to go. For example: “Is that your swing set? Do you have any cool tricks you could show me?”, or, “Look at all these leaves. Don’t you think it would be so much fun to just throw ’em up in the air and let it rain leaves?”.
Pick a location that is familiar to the kids. It could be their backyard, a nearby park, or any place that is familiar to them. Not only will the kids be more relaxed and natural in a familiar setting, but they will also most likely have a few favourite things about the place they could show you.
One of the things you could try with the kids is an expression game. If they are old enough to understand, tell them that you have a game for them, where you will say out loud an expression or a word, and they have to try and do their best impression of that word. Use words like “Happy, Shocked, Surprised, Sad, Smelly” etc. If the kids aren’t getting a hang of it, ask them questions that will bring out different expressions on their faces. For example, “What if your favourite thing to eat?”, “What is your least favorite thing to eat?”, etc. This generally works better for kids
Some kids feel shy with other people watching them including their parents. Other kids love having an audience. Find out what kind of child you are dealing with and adjust accordingly. We got these cute pictures of this brother and sister duo when mommy was watching. But as soon as mommy went inside for a moment, the kids just totally opened up and started breaking out their own poses!
Family and especially children portraits are nothing like other high stress photographic assignments like wedding or fashion shoots. Keep it easy, relaxed and conversational. Sell your personality before anything else and the bonds you make will last as long as the pictures.
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