Adrian Clarke | Tips and Advice for Photographing Children

 

Tips and Advice for Photographing Children

 

This page is all about, you guessed it, tips and suggestions for taking your own photographs of your own children. It starts with some basic things, and we'll move on through whatever else I can think of too. Read though (it's only short at the moment, I am trying to add something every week or two), and please do add a comment either on this page or on Facebook. If you have any specific questions, let me know and I will try to cover those.

I am trying to keep it lighthearted and entertaining as well, and I'm using photographs as well as words - I want you to SEE the differences!


 

On your knees!

 

How to photograph children betterHow to photograph children betterTips and advice on how to take better photographs of your children

You should have realised at some point that you are quite a lot taller than your children, at least for the first ten years or so, and probably longer than that. I'm quite tall, which means that my children will probably be quite tall too eventually, but in the meantime I am way taller than they are. Photographs of your children, especially if you are reasonably close to them (within a 5 metres or so), are going to be improved if you get down to their level for many reasons:

  • first, your children won't have to crane their necks to look up at the camera - not a good look!
  • they also shouldn't look distorted with a large head relative to their legs or feet (this is especially a problem when using a wide angle lens too close);
  • they might be more likely to give you a nice smile since you are down at their level and they probably aren't used to that;
  • you'll have a background that isn't the ground beneath their feet, but rather the actual background that was behind them when you took the photograph!

So here is a before and after. It's not intended to be a stunning portrait photograph of my daughter, but just a couple of snapshots - the first taken standing, the second one taken kneeling down.

Standing...

How to photograph children betterHow to photograph children betterTips and advice on how to take better photographs of your children How to photograph children betterHow to photograph children betterTips and advice on how to take better photographs of your children

...and then kneeling down...

How to photograph children betterHow to photograph children betterTips and advice on how to take better photographs of your children How to photograph children betterHow to photograph children betterTips and advice on how to take better photographs of your children

 

Warnings and exclusions?

  • There are always exceptions to the rules, but the rule is not a bad place to start and you can ignore it if it doesn't work for you either that day or indeed ever.
  • Watch what you are wearing and what you are kneeling in. At the very least it's England and it's usually damp on the ground. If you have pets it could be worse.
  • If you're not taller than your children, you don't need to worry about this one. Also, if you are much shorter than them (or they are standing on something!), you can get opposite results:

How to photograph children betterHow to photograph children betterTips and advice on how to take better photographs of your children

 

 

​Be Distracting

 

Funnily enough, this post is all about using the power of distraction. Given that I took these photos back in leafy October (I'm writing it in March...), I guess that should show us all what the power of distraction is like.

So, what is the plan here? Basically, I find that children are best behaved for photography when they are doing something else that they are actually interested in. And generally they aren't interested in sitting still and looking at the camera to have their photograph taken. Not when you want them to at least! So have them do something else. Not absolutely anything though - think of what the options are, think about how you could use it to get a good photograph, get yourself all set up and ready (distraction in just the way you want it may not last very long you see!), and cajole the children into whatever it was you had in mind that they might think was their own idea.

Granted, my children are quite used to sitting still for photographs, but they still enjoyed this session more than a sit down and pose session. First I had them help me get set up (great if you can manage it) piling leaves for a family photoshoot in Sevenoakspiling leaves for a family photoshoot in Sevenoaks

Once we had a big leaf pile made, we got down to the serious business of running through it. I took some pictures closer to the action with a wide angle lens...

 

I have to admit that I did take a lot of photos of this - many out of focus, or with a crazy expression that isn't what I really wanted, or with leaves where the face should be. Lesson - if you are shooting action things, take plenty of pictures.

I took some with a longer lens from further away too...

 

Leaf family photoshoot in Sevenoaks KentLeaf family photoshoot in Sevenoaks Kent Leaf family photoshoot in Sevenoaks KentLeaf family photoshoot in Sevenoaks Kent Leaf family photoshoot in Sevenoaks KentLeaf family photoshoot in Sevenoaks Kent

Much easier to keep things in focus and not be covered in leaves yourself, but maybe not so 'in the thick of it' as the wide angle shots earlier.

But for all of the pictures, just look at the properly distracted and happy faces. I know the leaves have gone now, but there's plenty of other distractions out there ALWAYS!