For a long time, I was the only one of my family to move to Sydney. Most of us live in Singapore, with one cousin I’m very close to in Melbourne. Soon, the next generation came along, and the reality of being a long-distance aunt means that the kids aren’t as familiar or close to me as I’d love for them to be. It’s even harder because I just love capturing moments in photographs, and it’s a little hard to do when the kids are a little wary of you.
Sometimes, it can be hard when photographing kids, especially when they’re not feeling cooperative, or they’re just a little shy. I didn’t want to miss out on these fleeting moments with my family, so I had to figure out what to do, fast!
Here’s what I’ve learnt: my top 6 tips to photograph children!
Get away from that viewfinder!
Even with adults, it’s very hard to get a connection with anyone if you’re hiding behind a viewfinder. And I totally understand the temptation to focus so much on the frame that you lose the moment! I always like to roughly frame the shot, and then come out from behind the viewfinder and just click away. Don’t worry about getting the perfect composition – you can always crop it later!
Get down to their level
Photographs with children can be so much more powerful when you’re at their level. Too many adults take top down photos, and that can sometimes cause a disconnect between the photographer and the kids’ own little world! I like to wear comfortable clothing, so that I can stoop down, roll in the dirt, and catch the kids at their best by getting right in the action.
Come on, work those gluts!
Treat them like an adult
Too many times, I see kids get, well, ordered around (for lack of a better word) when it comes to taking their picture. Look here, stand there, stop moving…and even as an adult, taking direction without explanation can be so hard, especially when you’re not familiar with the photographer. I try to incorporate explanations with my direction. For example, “hey your dress would look so pretty by the window, so the camera can really see the sparkles! Would you mind standing there for me please?” works so much better, every single time.
Take Many Photos
I get so self-conscious when I come out from behind the camera, and you know what, kids do too. To combat this, I like to employ the reality TV method – take your time and take so many photos, that they can forget the camera is there, and relax a little. Works for adults too.
Photograph them in their element
Another way to get someone to forget about the cameras, is to place them in their element. Photographing kids while they’re at play is so much more effective than a posed portrait, because they’re feeling absolutely at home and comfortable. Just remember to wear good running shoes because you might just have to keep up!
As my nephews and nieces get older, they get more aware that every click of the camera will produce images. My oldest nephew enjoys looking at the display after every shot, and tweaking his poses to help me create a memorable picture! I just love that I can share this passion for photography with him, and you know what, he actually handles a DSLR better than some adults I know. Involving him in the photography process made him so much more cooperative when it comes to getting his picture taken, and he’s a much more happy camper when the cameras get whipped out.
I would love for you to try out these tips to photograph the amazing little ones in your life. And I would love to see the results even more! Tag your photos with #T4TSayCheese on Instagram or Twitter, and I’ll share the ones that I love the most! Got more tips, I’d love to hear them too – just leave me a comment below!