10 tips for photographing children

10 tips for photographing children

Ever wondered why professional photos of children look fantastic? Seems some people just click the camera and their pictures are brilliant. The secret lies not in how good the camera is, but in the photographer's skill. Mum and professional photographer Olga Hoffman shares her tips.

Little boy

I used to work on commercial photo shoots but when my baby boy was born my life completely changed. Long working hours made me to change career and focus on photographing children. I started teaching other mums how to take beautiful pictures of their children, and through this, my iKids Photo Course was born.

Here are some of my professional photography tips for you which will help you to improve your pictures of your children:

1. Get down to your child's eye level

We tend to photograph children from above because we are taller. However, this visually enlarges their head and shrinks their body when you photograph them. Kneel down and start taking pictures from a child's eye level. This will get the proportions right, and you'll also see the world the way they see it.

2. Know your camera

It's not about your camera but how well you know your camera. If you don't have anyone to show you, get your camera manual out and study it. It will help you to improve your pictures.

3. No cheese

How many times have you asked "smile for the camera" and you were ignored or your child just ran away? You need genuine, natural smiles, so create them. Do something funny, ask them to make silly faces or play a peekaboo game.

4. Find the right light

The easiest light to take a picture is during overcast weather. It is soft and free from strong shadows, perfect for taking pictures of babies. During sunny weather the light is too strong to photograph during the day, so you need to get your kids under shade. It can be a tree, gazebo or umbrella, then take your pictures. You can also photograph early in the morning or in the evening when the sun is low and not that strong.

5. Understand composition

Get as close as possible to photograph your child, so she/he is the main subject of the picture. When taking pictures with a background for added interest, frame your pictures so the children are positioned toward the right leaving space on the left.

6. Choose clothes wisely

Clothes do matter. There are some basic 'do' and 'don't' recommendations, for example avoid white or black colours. They are very difficult to photograph, especially when put together, because they usually come out too dark or too bright. Avoid big patterns; they grab attention out of your model. The best clothes are plain and in similar tones.

7. Clear the clutter

There's nothing worse than a messy background. Being a mum myself I know tiding up and taking care of kids doesn't go together. Just look for a plain background or change the position of your camera.

8. Be creative

Photography is considered a creative art, so be creative and have some fun! Try different angles, different light, frame adults holding babies or just simple different backgrounds.

9. Make it fun for the children

Make sure your children have fun while posing for pictures, never try to force them. It is relatively easy with babies, you just talk silly and they laugh. With toddlers you can play different games: ask them to run toward you, play with the ball, or give them their favourite food.

10. Take lots of pictures

Professional photographers take lots of pictures to get a perfect one. Don't be disappointed if most of your pictures don't come out as desired. Keep taking pictures and delete the ones you don't like.

Olga Hoffman is a mum and professional photographer.

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