Child and Baby Photography: Be Ready
Things Happen Quickly With Kids, Stay Alert...
Be Ready. Always have your finger on the shutter button, and try to have the camera settings set correctly. Children are one of the most spontaneous and unpredictable subjects you can photograph, you NEVER know what they will do next.
Some of the things they do, can be a little naughty and will only happen once. Therefore, you need to be at the ready (with no shutter lag) to capture it. My tip is to look through the camera with one eye, and keep the other on the room as a whole. Try and predict when something will happen.
This photograph of James below is a perfect example
This sitting had all the makings of becoming a disaster because the family were arguing with the neighbours and generally, everyone was losing interest.
There were about 10 members of the family immediately to my right. One of them shoved this dummy in James’ mouth.
The lad in the background immediately cheered up. Everyone started laughing and to top it all, the family dog popped his head into shot to see what the family was laughing at. Perfect set up!
I was able to capture it, as no matter what was happening, the studio lights were still on and ready. My camera was also ready and I was ready!
It’s a little dated now, as far as techniques go, but I wanted to emphasise the dummy. I converted the picture to black and white, leaving the colour in the dummy.
This is a fairly straight-forward (albeit dated) technique, but can be quite captivating. I have included this in my Photoshop hints and tips.
Be Ready with Focussing
By keeping your finger lightly pressed on the shutter button, it will remain focussing on the subject as they run around the room. If your camera has the AI FOCUS setting, put it on that to help get sharp pictures more consistently. If your camera has multi focus points, use just the centre one.
This prevents the cameras auto focus from wildly focussing on the background. Again, if your camera has the ability, set the camera shutter to multi shoot, or continuous shooting. I normally take 3 or 4 at a time of each shot to ensure that:
- 1At least ONE of the photographs is in focus
- 2ONE of the photographs is framed and composed correctly
- 3ONE of the photographs is framed, composed AND focussed correctly
Follow the children wherever they go (within reason). You should become almost part of whatever game they are playing and try to record it. Obviously don’t photograph everything they do. If you are using film, it will be a costly exercise, and if you are shooting digitally, great, but you will have a lot of work to do later on.
Also keep your eyes open, you never know when the biggest of all rainbows may appear at the right time.