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Since I began writing here at DPS, I’ve been shooting out little lists of tips for photographing children. But each little point on those lists has so much potential for further exploration in and of itself and it would be a shame not to delve deeper. One such tip I’ve thrown out there is to: “Leave them alone”. I said recently in a radio interview (I love that stuff just comes to me as I’m saying it before I even realise that I think it!) that I want to “take photos of who my kids are, not just what they’re doing.” One such way we can accomplish this is to back off and leave them alone.
A good zoom lens is a must-have for any parent who loves taking photo of their children. Or at least for the time being, you can use your kit lens and crop in as close as the quality allows after the fact. This will allow you to back off and let them forget that you’re taking their photo. Don’t order them around and restrain yourself from scolding them if they’re naughty. I love taking photos of my kids being naughty.
Another method I use when photographing them is to take hundreds and hundreds in each session. I just pack my memory card and put my camera on the fastest shooting drive possible. In the evening when they’ve gone to bed, I can go through them and out of a hundred, I might keep only one which is ‘the one’. ‘The one’ is always the most perfect moment which shows who I know my children to be – the authentic them. How do I know which one is ‘the one’? It’s the one shot that makes me stop for an extra second. The one that makes me want to go up to their bed and kiss them. The one that makes me heart skip a beat or hate the thought of them growing up. Don’t be afraid to trash the ones that aren’t ‘the one’.
So no matter what they’re doing, try to capture who they are, not just what they’re doing.