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After our previous articles on posing female subjects and posing men (there are now more guides – see below this article for the complete series), let’s look at some starting points with photographing children. Little ones are definitely fun and very positive subjects to photograph! Getting those real and authentic emotions and showing through your pictures the joy of a childhood is a very warm and sincere feeling.
However dealing with kids sometimes can be quite challenging. You have to be ready that they often have their own thoughts on their mind and you need to be very patient and adapt to their natural behavior. Don’t assume that they will listen carefully and follow your instructions exactly. That’s why you most probably won’t be able to use these samples as posing cheat sheet. Use them rather as a reference for ideas and different scenarios for you photo shoot.
1. When photographing children, remember to shoot from their eye level! Concerning poses, though, let them be “as they are” and try to capture their natural expressions, emotions and behavior.
2. A sweet pose for kids. Get your subject to lie down on the ground and shoot from a very low angle.
3. Just another variant if your subject is lying on the ground.
4. Very sweet pose for photographing babies. Place the baby in a bed and cover it with a blanket. For best results, make sure that the colors of all the bedclothes go well together. White works well.
5. To make kids more relaxed, try to get them hug or play with their favorite teddy bear or any other toy of their choice.
6. Try taking pictures of kids in their everyday environment, for example, playing their favorite games, doing homework or as in this example, painting with watercolors. Keeping them busy in a familiar setting is a good way to get them to cooperate and to make those special poses you want.
7. It really is a good idea to set everything up so that the kid is busy with his own “things” and not even noticing your actions. Looking at a favorite picture book is just one example of how to keep them “posing” for you.
8. Be attentive and don’t miss the kids heavy laughing or loud shouting. Such situations always produce very emotional and thus rewarding shots! But, please, no staged cheese smiles! Avoid fake emotions at all costs.
9. Use some delicious food items as props. You might be able to capture very interesting moments photographing children eating some sweets, ice-cream, fruits etc.
10. Soap bubbles are simply a must-have accessory for children photography. First of all, children just love them and are really happy to blow some bubbles. Secondly, you can work creatively and find an accurate lighting settings to get beautifully illuminated bubbles as an outstanding visual hook in your photos.
11. When photographing outdoors, you can involve your subject in a hiding (actually reappearing) game. Get her to hide behind some object – a big tree for instance – and ask her to peek out of the hide-out. This is a nice moment to take a picture.
12. Playing in the sand is a very nice setting for photographing children. They can play and keep themselves busy while you just observe and take your shots while not disturbing them even one bit.
13. Try some action shots. Give your subjects a ball to play with. Then aim for an interesting perspective: Shoot from ground level while introducing the ball as a dominant foreground object.
14. When shooting children and family photos, never forget that pets are also family members. Involve them into your shots and you will notice how much joy and emotions that will create.
15. Children’s playground is a very good place for some outdoor shots, it provides endless variations for action shots.
16. If a boy or a girl is into some sports (basketball, football, tennis etc.) you can take a very special portrait of him or her with the corresponding props.
17. A very nice mother and baby pose. Mother laying on the ground with a kid on the chest. Alternatively, if the kid is still a toddler, she could hold him or her in both hands above her. And just a remark on this one and the following samples with a mother – in all of these samples the parent might as well be a father, a gender used here is only for an illustration purposes. And, of course, do involve both parents in a photo shoot, in any sample here one or both parents are more than welcome to “join into” the composition.
18. Very simple and natural pose: Mother holding her kid on the hip. Try different head positions.
19. A really touching pose. Just ask the child to hug its mother. Capture their natural emotions for a priceless photo.
20. An engaging, fun and easy pose, which is nevertheless rather uncommon and original. Ask the mother to lie down on the ground, then make the kid to sit on and hold on to the mother’s back.
21. This setting is absolutely beautiful for family portraits. Might be arranged indoors in a bed as well outdoors on the ground. Works very well in different combinations and with different numbers of subjects, adults or kids.
And on a final note, first and foremost thing to keep in mind – kids move around very fast! It’s not only the physical movement in space, but also the head, eye direction and face expressions – everything changes constantly and instantly! That means you have to choose fast enough shutter speeds in order to avoid motion blurred images. Consider forcing one or two ISO stops above “normal” to gain faster shutter speeds. And always shoot in continuous shooting mode, taking several frames in a row. The blink of an eye just takes the blink of an eye. Secure the moments before and after, too. In the age of digital cameras this costs nothing, but it can be critical for securing the best shots.
Kaspars Grinvalds is a photographer working and living in Riga, Latvia. He is the author of Posing App where more poses and tips about people photography are available.
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