One of the main reasons why so many people buy a new digital camera is the arrival of a baby in the family. The first couple of weeks are full of photographic activity and the camera is being used almost every day (and this is of course quite necessary if you want to keep up with the rate at which they grow up). This article will try to help you learn how to photograph babies and kids.
The most important pictures, of course, are those just after the birth, in which mum and dad hold the baby for the first time – the ones which will be treasured forever. Since delivery rooms usually have fluorescent lights, you should set your white balance accordingly, or if light levels are low, use flash.
You’ll probably want to take pictures of the baby together with the other members of the family, like grandparents and older brothers and sisters. Just have in mind when doing this to do it spontaneously, since shots like that tend to be the best.
When photographing babies and kids you should avoid using direct flash and instead shoot outside on an overcast day or indoors next to a large window or patio door.
Besides such spontaneous shots, it’s always nice to have some formal ones. Mum and dad with their hair done, and baby dressed in its Sunday best, and nicely arranged lighting.
From their birth to the day they leave home, children provide a lot of photo opportunities and happy memories. One of the nicest things parents could do is capture their children’s formative years on film. Everyone is going to be thankful in years to come, as you will have hundreds of family photos to look back on.
When photographing babies and kids you can take a candid or posed approach. Candid shots are especially recommended when photographing toddlers, who often rush at you when they see you picking up the camera. Teenagers are a different story, they can sometimes be sulky and stroppy as hormones kick in, and reluctant to pose.
You can also give them something to do, like washing the car or watering the garden. It is almost guaranteed that younger children will look photogenic when holding a hosepipe. And nothing can beat a pet such as a puppy or rabbit when it comes to keeping your children busy.
When taking candid photos of your kids outdoors it’s pure luck when it comes to backgrounds and lighting, particularly when they are running around from one area to another. But if they seem willing, you should take some posed photos as well.
One of the things that make pictures beautiful is, of course, the lighting. So you should find some spot with nice lighting and a simple but interesting background in front of which to take your children’s photos. Also, tell them a couple of jokes or ask them to say words like ‘jelly’ or ‘grapefruit’, instead of ‘cheese’. That will certainly make them laugh. When taking photos of your kids indoors, instead of flash, use daylight whenever possible. But have in mind that if the light level is low you may need to put your camera on a tripod or set a higher ISO setting so that your images don’t appear blurry because of long exposure.
Since children are usually more uninhibited than adults, you should experiment with different poses to see which ones work the best. Also, try being creative with the angles from which you shoot them. For instance, you could try lying on your back and looking up at them as they are leaning over you. Or shoot them from above as they are lying on the floor spelling out letters with their bodies. These are just a few examples of how to photograph babies and kids, your imagination is actually the limit.