Portrait Photography Tips: Dealing with Babies, Toddlers and Teenagers
Babies, toddlers and teenagers are one of the most challenging yet inspiring photography subjects. So to get great results, follow these tips.
- Capture them at their happiest moment. It’s no use clicking away when you cannot make the baby crack even the tiniest smile. So make sure they are well fed and have had enough sleep. So, the best time to take shots is after they have eaten or taken a nap. They are also at their most active and most cheerful first thing in the morning so schedule that time of the day.
- Give the teens the freedom to choose their outfit. If you don’t, you’ll make them more self-conscious or worse, non- participatory during the shoot. They have to feel comfortable (for the boys) or like they are in a mini fashion shoot (for the girls). If possible, make them wear neutral clothes to minimize distractions.
- Leave the parents out of the equation. Teens act differently when parents are not around. If you can coax the parents not to hover during the shoot, the better shots you can get.
- Avoid the flash. It usually scares away the babies and even young children. It only takes one mistake and you’re left with a wailing baby that would ruin the entire shoot. If it is not possible, then use a flash diffuser so as to downplay the effect of the flash burst.
- Be creative. Use props so you can make the children feel like they are just inside a playground or candy store. That would give you lots of laughter and uninhibited action. If they feel uncomfortable with all the reflectors around, hold stuffed toys on your lens so they can look at it while you take the shots.
- Pretend it is a game. Since kids have overflowing energy, you can use it to your advantage. You want them to stay happy and energetic so let them get a feel of the props, like a tree for example, and then ask them to touch it or hug it. This way, they won’t be bored or scared and you can catch them in their most candid moments.
- Underexpose the images. This would be particularly effective if you want a unique composition. Turn off the lights and move a sofa next to a window. Drape a towel on one of the cushions and lay the baby gently on it. With the aid of natural light, you can underexpose using two to three stops. The background would turn to black because of the top light and it would produce an image where the baby looks like it is floating.
- Show them the pictures. Most people get overly self-conscious when they see their pictures but kids get more excited when they do. It would make them want to do so over and over again.
- Keep Mum and Dad around. This is when you’re dealing with babies so the little ones won’t be scared of the situation. Make the parents stand behind the camera and get the attention of the baby through silly faces or dancing. This would help you encourage the baby to look in your direction.
- Take a shot of the most confident. Sometimes, kids are not in the mood and the added nervousness does not help in the situation. Do not hesitate to ask who wants his or her picture to be taken first so as to show the other kids that it is fun and cool to do so.