A Guide to Child Photography
January 8, 2009|Comments (26)
Not that I pretend to be a great photographer. I am not. I’m not even good at hiding my flawed photography with fancy editing software like Photoshop. But I love light and expressions. The faces and the world around me are a constant source of inspiration. Capturing them on film seems as natural as shoveling food at them. Oh, and I do shovel food at people. No one is safe. Not even the UPS man. But back to photography.
Josh and I love wandering around snapping pictures, messing with camera settings, and just taking it all in. More than anything, we love the money we save on buying art for our walls and gifts for our friends. Sometimes this means that we get to save our friends money, too.
Like the star of this morning’s post, Will, who would have cost his exhausted (but completely adorable) mother a small fortune and at least four nights of sleep had we not been able to nab some nifty S.O.C. (straight out of the camera) shots of the boy. **Those of you without children are scratching your heads and wondering what a trip to Olan Mills has to do with losing four nights worth of sleep (I know this because I recently woke up as a parent to four children and still have a memory of things being just “Josh and Lacy”… though it is quickly fading… and couldn’t imagine how stressful simple tasks become when you must haul a squirming youth along with you).**
Trying to get kids to a photographer is like herding hamsters. Only worse because you must have them napped, fed, bathed, primped, combed, plucked, scoured, clothed, and lassoed before getting in the car. Once you are in the car and driving, your child manages to magically and mysteriously return to his/her previous state of resembling a fraternity boy at six o’clock on any given Sunday morning. Then there is a rushed trip to the cramped bathroom at the studio (which always smells strongly of coffee, cigarettes, and stale popcorn) where you rebathe your child in the shallow sink, dry him/her under the automated hand dryer, and scramble to get the little monster out the door before he/she discovers the soap and lotion dispensers. You get several shots of your child appearing to float on a box covered with black fabric and black background (smelling faintly of Baby Magic and poopy diapers), mop up tears & comb hair, and finally pay for the shots while picking damp Cheerios off of your shirt.
So, photographing children at home or at the park seems like a safe and happy alternative to the misery above. Don’t you think?
First: Do not change your child’s pants or tights. Keep your wardrobe selections limited to attractive but easy to change into items. For little boys: bring a few nice polo shirts (like three). For little girls: jumpers or dresses — not both. If you pick jumpers, keep the same blouse on under each jumper.
Second: Bring a comfort item (washed & cleaned) for them to play with and snacks that aren’t very messy like banana chips.
Third: Do a few warm up shots to get your child used to be stalked by paparazzi. These warm up shots may be taken before you mop up your child.
Fourth: Have a friend entertain your child and help you get them to climb on items, run, and explore. Do not expect the child to sit still and pose for the camera. It is not a stationary shoot. Keep your settings simple, avoid using your flash — just use the natural light and make very subtle changes with aperture (when photographing kids, I keep a wide aperture and a fast shutter speed).
Fifth: Enjoy the process. Don’t forget snacks for yourself, too. Your child will feed off of your energy so if you are cranky, hungry, and stressed — guess who else will be cranky, hungry, and stressed?
Thank you for tuning in to this post. Come back often because I’ve got a giveaway just around the corner and you’re going to LOVE it!