My last two photo shoots were to babies, kids and families. Its a great practice and something I never tried before. There are quite a lot of challenges with shooting kids and they whole family. I always was doing individual portraits with adults, and that’s about getting to know the person, building a relationship and then taking the pictures, but when shooting kids its not that easy. Usually the kids are not the ones deciding that the photo shoot will happen, so they are not the most cooperative.
At the end of the post there are some links with some tips to photograph kids. I will tell what it worked for me. My models were under 4 years old, one was 1.5 months, 1,5 years and then 4 years. So getting them to pose it is not an idea. So going candid was the only way. I started the shoot with my 50 mm lens. That was not a good idea, I was too close from the kids and they were getting nervous of my presence and not behaving as normal, later I realized that and grabbed my 70-300mm lens and hide away and let them play. At that moment was when I started getting better pictures.
One of the moms told me that getting a kid to laugh is not by saying “laugh” or “cheese”, what its true, it also doesn’t work for adults, so we need to make the kids laugh by saying stupid things and that make them relaxed and they started having fun. Another important point when shooting kids (and also adults…) its to relax, chasing the kids around doesn’t work, force them to look at you won’t work either. Just relax, give them space to play and let them be, and then take the picture.
What about moms and dads? Mmmm that is a hard question, usually parents are always trying to interfere with the photo shoot by getting the kids to collaborate, but in my case maybe it was a good interference,because they understood my need for help, they tried to cheer and entertain the kids as they always do, so it was good, and also I was able to capture some nice shots of the parents playing with the kids.
Some of the issues that I need to work out next time, shooting in manual when your subject is moving is really hard! I still need to practice to get that totally under control. Also, I need to work out some guidelines for the parents to prepare their kids before a photo shoot, how to dress them and what to take to the shoot. I think that having props and different outfits can make the photo shoot much more fun. Besides that I need to plan my shoot better, when you have only one model its not that hard, things are easy, but when you have 4 models, interacting with each other loosing the focus of the photo shoot is really easy. Its important to get photos of everyone and to get at least a couple good shoots of every combination of people.
About photographing families we will need another full blog post, its even harder than taking pics of kids.
You can take a look at my gallery of kids and families