Photographing Children Like A Pro (for dummies), part 1 : the preparation

That moment. When you’re with your children and suddenly you feel like, oh look.. How cute is that! Then you realized that your camera is not ready, you grabbed it in a rush, but when it’s ready, the moment is gone. All you got was just one or two pictures which not good enough to show off.

Yes, of course you can always hire a fabulous photographer to do the job for you. But not as a daily basis. Some beautiful moments just come without plan. Those professionals start as an amateur too, I believe.. So let’s start!

Gear.
I feel you.. When we’re taking the kids to a playground complete with their snacks, drinks, extra nappies and clothes.. Plus extra attention to the kids as they’re rolling and jumping and running all around. So, no more additional burden, please! You can leave that bulky camera at home, and you can always choose a lighter one like compact digital camera or even just your phone. I always have my iPhone standby, and sometimes (when the day weren’t too busy) I bring my Olympus Pen with me. It’s a compact version of DSLR which I feel away handier for me (as a mom) to carry.

photographing children tutorial - canafotografiataken with iPhone 5

Camera Settings.
No, I won’t talk about ISO, shutter speed or aperture here. If you use your phone, then all you need to do is just gently pick the focus with your thumb, and shut when you’re happy. Make sure the flash is off, please.

If you’re not familiar yet with the manual settings, then leave it for another day. You’ll already lost your kids before the first shot, so don’t push yourself too hard 😀 Instead of using Auto, why don’t you try the Scene Mode. I have “Children” mode in mine, it’s already set the high shutter speed for us, or you can choose “Sport” mode instead, they’re quite the same. If you’re photographing a newborn or a child whose not playing so hard (reading in a library, eating in their highchair, etc), you can try “Portrait” mode.

photographig children tutorial - canafotografia“Sport” mode, please.. for something like this!

Next step check your camera white balance on the menu, match it with your setting, is it sunny, cloudy, shaded or anything else. Then you’re ready to go!

When
It’s all about the light. I won’t tell you to avoid night time but yes, it’s much more difficult to have a perfect light at night without a proper lighting gear. Try to catch the “golden hours” which are around an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset. Just pick one of those which more convenient for your children. The sunshine apart from that time will be too harsh and make a strong shadow to the skin, which is not nice and not editable. But if that’s all your chance to make a session, then try to find a shaded spot. Sometimes cloudy days will help too. Don’t forget to make sure the children are in a good mood and fully recharged.

photographing children tutorial - canafotografiamy favorite light ever was when it’s just a moment before sunset

photographing children tutorial - canafotografiamy favorite light ever was when it's just a moment before sunsetall was perfect except that strong shadow on his face which I can’t do anything to fix it.

If you really really need to make a shot inside your house (or building) at night time, change the White Balance into “Tungsten” for yellow bulb, and “Flourescent” for white light. And mind the shadow, please 🙂

Location
Anywhere you (and your children of course) familiar with! My favorites are my backyard, the playground next to their school and a little park next to our house. They won’t realized that you will do “something” with them 😉

photographig children tutorial - canafotografia

photographing children tutorial - canafotografiathe backyardigan 😀

photographig children tutorial - canafotografiaa local park – lover

If you want to go somewhere special to take the pictures, better it’s not too far from home or it will give you extra task to boost their moods.
What about inside the house? Yes of course you can do it even just in your bed! Just make sure you have plenty of light from the window or doors, turn off your room lights and switch the white balance of the camera into “Shadow”.

photographig children tutorial - canafotografiaeven the living room can do well

What to Wear?
Consider to where you go. Casual chic and not too fancy if they’re just play at the playground, anything light for the summer days at the beach, a bit formal applicable in a grassy park, etc.
Do you have a theme? Then make it match. For examples; touch of laces (girls) or old hat (boys) for vintage feels, smart and clean for urban look, light pastel colors for holiday, etc.

photographig children tutorial - canafotografiainvest one or two cutie outfits for your girls, no need to buy too many because they grow so fast, don’t they?

Here are some tips :
– big and bold pattern will distract the focus, avoid them.
– the same thing with big character or lettering, avoid them.
– use layers if possible
– a bit of accessories, not too much.
And the most important one is :
– don’t push them to wear anything if they don’t want to. Children will always look adorable even without a cute flowery hairband or a butterfly tie.

photographing children tutorial - canafotografiashe kept saying “no!” when her mum ask her to wear her hat, but look.. she’s beautiful!

End of part one, I hope this quite helpful and please leave a comment if you have any question. I’ll post the next part about the execution around next week 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Photographing Children Like A Pro (for dummies), part 1 : the preparation

  1. Kaaaaak suka bangeet tutorialnyaa
    Aku kalo bukan karena tuntutan kampus mau belinya mirrorless dan bukan dslr huu :”
    Yess, everything is about the how the light falls on yah 🙂
    Thanks for sharing

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