Getting great children pictures is different from other types of photography in that the subject is in charge. Instruction doesn’t work. They won’t listen. Children are almost always active. They will continuously move around so you probably will have to wait for a shot.
Children are best photographed in their own world where they are most natural. Talk with the children, and get them to be comfortable in your presence. Watch them to be prepared to shoot when the time is right.
Take photos of children when they are playing with their toys. Their favorite toys are sure to elicit a studied response. Notice how they are completely enthralled. This is a good time to photograph them.
Watch what is in the foreground and the background. The idea is that you don’t want any distracting items to appear in the picture. A clean foreground or a clean background is important. Move around until you can get a good clear shot.
Vertical items behind the child that seem to come out of his head are
particularly distracting. The main emphasis is on the child so remove any distracting items from the area. If the child is outside at a playground, for instance, move in close. Close in you can isolate the child from their busy surroundings, but include part of the playground so there is a sense of what the surroundings are.
To Get Great Children Pictures, Watch Your Composition Angles
Choose an angle so that the background is clean, and again, avoid those verticals that seem to come out of the child’s head. Zoom in or use a longer lens to insulate the child from his surroundings. Close in shots add interest.
The eyes should be in focus. If you are shooting a ¾ profile, concentrate on the closest eye. Since children are always moving be prepared to change the focus quickly. Keep in mind that you should always be at eye level with the child even if it means lying down on the floor.
To Get Great Children Pictures, Capture the Emotions
Watch for emotion. Get the picture when the child is laughing, giggling, or even crying. Get those expressions. They tell a story. Also look for relationships between the child and his parents or between the child and a friend. These shots tell a story.
Be aware of the colors in a shot. Avoid surrounding colors that are close to the colors of the child’s clothing. Similar colors will make the child less prominent.
Other Considerations for Great Children Pictures
Child Photography is best done in soft light. Early morning and late afternoon are good times. The light is soft then and the shadows are not too harsh. If you must photograph during the day shoot under the trees or in other shade.
If you are shooting from home try to have the child positioned by a window out of the way of direct sunlight. If the light is still harsh use a curtain to diffuse it, and soften it even more if needed. Have the child face the light or at least have the light shine on one side of his face.
Edit the images on a computer to see how they might have been improved. Use a photo editing program to change them for the better. This process will make you aware of shortcomings in the photo. This will help you to compose the shot on your camera in the first place. Good luck on capturing great children pictures!