mercredi, mars 17, 2010

tips for photographing toddlers and children

For friends who want to take better pictures of their kids ...
Tips for Photographing Toddlers & Children: Amy PostleGet down to your child's level
  1. Be a silent observer: Rather than instructing, positioning, and asking your child to smile - take a step back and enjoy the subtleties of your children. You will see, appreciate and capture the natural moments in your child’s life, rather than taking another staged “say cheese” picture.
  2. Activities are important: Keep your child occupied and happy by giving them an activity or toy that they love. If your children are happy and active, great photos are sure to follow.
  3. Get down to your child's level: Sit on the ground, or lay down if you need to. Physically moving to their level will give you a new and unique perspective. Move around and experiment with cropping. Make sure to come in close and observe the little things in those moments too- their hands, feet, smile, etc. Play around with the perspective and you'll find some amazing moments to capture that you would have otherwise missed standing up!
  4. Be aware of the light source: When outside, avoid direct sunlight, which causes harsh shadows and squinty eyes (cloudy days are great). On a sunny day, find a shaded spot and turn off your flash (even snapshot cameras have this option). You'll get a much more realistic, beautiful and naturally lit image. When indoor, try and position your children near a window- window light provides beautiful natural light and helps you avoid the harsh light from a flash. (Avoiding flash photography also helps with tip #1- flashes tend to startle children, especially younger ones.)
  5. Pay attention to the background: Try and avoid shooting towards backgrounds that are busy and distracting (poles in the background can often give the "skewered effect!") If the background is busy however, you can solve this simply by moving your own body and camera position even slightly- change the angle and you will change the photograph.
  6. Ask them to do simple tasks: For example, ask your child to look out the window- you’ll have beautiful window light on their face, while capturing their sense of curiosity at the world.
  7. Be a part of the moment: Have one parent (or friend) photograph while the other parent participates. Embrace the opportunity to interact with your child and be photographed with them. Do what they want to do, be a part of their world and enjoy it! A client told me once that the greatest gift was looking back at photographs of her playing with her children and being able to see the true joy she felt as a mother all over again.
  8. Shoot in Black & White: Black and white strips away the “noise” of every day life and really brings focus to the child and the moment. It is classic, timeless, and always beautiful. Plus, if you are photographing your child indoors, it will help you avoid the normal color shifts that occur on film when shot without a flash under standard household bulbs.
  9. Let them be themselves: Allow them to pick their own clothes for the photos. Even if it’s silly or sassy- capture that! Great photographs come from capturing the real moments that children experience not from the perfect smile, or a constructed moment. Ask them what ideas they have for photographs and indulge them. I bet they will surprise you.
  10. Making faces is fun: One of my favorite things to ask children to do is make faces- every face they can think of from silly, to serious, mad, sad, and anything else they can come up with. It’s a good way to warm them up for picture taking while making them realize that taking photos can be fun! Chances are they will start laughing half way through and be a ham for the camera afterwards.
  11. Make a contact sheet: Have a contact sheet made instead of prints. Contact (or proof) sheets show the story of the day- they are a fantastic way to see the personality of the shoot and your child, without having to choose one shot. Frame it as a single picture and it will be like having a mini movie on your wall.
  12. Think like a professional: Think about the big picture- what’s in the background? What’s in the foreground? If you move slightly to one side or the other will the shot improve? How is the lighting? Would this be better as a horizontal or vertical image? Would B&W or color be more effective? What do I hope to achieve? Think like a professional and over time your photographs will improve. Have fun, be adventurous and trust your instincts!
Learn more about Amy:
Podcast - Amy Postle pushes the boundaries of her art by evoking passion, beauty and emotion with color and black and white films.
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