Capturing natural and real images of childhood
Do you wish you could take capture more natural and relaxed images of your own children? Here’s some tips used at a recent location shoot with two excitable young boys to create some promotional images for the forthcoming Christmas Season.
To set the scene, I recently headed over to Rother Barn Tree Farm in preparation for my Christmas Tree Mini sessions. Joining me was Nicola from Naranja Cloud and a couple of willing models sporting a couple of stylish outfits perfect for our mini-adventure amongst the fragrant firs. It would be fair to say the boys weren’t quite prepared for the session or what to expect so we really were winging it. They’d just been swimming so not quite so full of energy as they may have been but who isn’t going to get excited in a Christmas tree forest?!
Armed with a bag of haribo and a few carefully chosen props, I pulled out my top five strategies for photographing children naturally. You may find them helpful too – so here you go, my top 5.
Or rather don’t! The very moment your child hears this word their camera face will soon follow. You know the one, cheesy grin or silly face. If another ‘helpful’ family member utters the dreaded word go with it. A cheesy grin is often followed by a natural laugh and that’s when you want to click the shutter. But ideally avoid this word at all costs!
“But I want to……”
Take your time, all good things come to those who wait right? After numerous child photography sessions, I’ve realised that although no one child is alike they will ALL do their own thing. You’ve got the perfect pose in mind but they have very different ideas. Embrace their uniqueness. Allow your child to stamp their mark on your inspiration creating an image which reflects their true personality.
“What’s over there?”
Containing children when there’s so much to see is a tough call. Avoid meltdowns by letting them explore and tag along for the ride. Capture the moments which reveal themselves during play. Whether close ups of discoveries they’ve sharing with you or pictures from behind as they head off on mini adventures will help you to explore your creativity too. They’ll often gravitate back to the original spot….eventually.
“Ouch! The light hurts my eyes..”
Insert sad face, watery eyes and misery. Find a spot with good light. One where eyes won’t be squinting or you can turn your child with the sun behind them. Have them facing something which will bounce the light back such as a wall, sand beneath their feet and so on will give balanced lighting without the squints and the tears.
“What do I do with my hands?!?”
Is your child like a rabbit in the headlights posing awkwardly infront of the camera? Having something to focus on helps them forget they are being photographed leading to natural, engaged photographs. During this shoot we listened for Santa’s Elves, looked for our faces reflected in baubles, played with the wooden star, tested branches to see how prickly they were – you get the idea….
If things are really not going to plan my best advise is to put down the camera and enjoy time just being with your child. Whilst it’s amazing to capture these moments, time goes past so fast it’s important to remember to enjoy them too!
Moira is a Southsea photographer who works throughout Hampshire and the UK. She specialises in children and families and is a member of the British Association of Professional Child Photographers. For more details visit her website or facebook page.