Child photography is one of the hardest photographic techniques, why, because children don’t always like to be photographed and will often give silly grins or unflattering poses. The first rule with children is always have a camera ready and charged. Simple as it may seem, there is no point having the right equipment if it is in the boot of your car. Secondly, take lots of images. The more you take, the more they will relax. Remember that with a digital camera you only pay for what you print.
Try these techniques to get a great child portrait:
Always use the camera set at 2x or 3x zoom as this makes faces look great as well as causing a soft background. Where possible, use a specific portrait lenses such as the Canon 50mm EF F1.8 or similar lenses for you brand of digital SLR.
If your subject seems tense, ask them to fill their cheeks with air and blow it out. The silliness of the act will relax them, and cause a natural smile. To avoid camera stare and the dreaded red- eye ask the child to look at your hand or over your shoulder, rather than instructing them to look at the camera directly. Alternatively ask them to close their eyes and put their chin on their chest, then after a few seconds look up. This will also effectively eliminate the stare.
When shooting children on the move, try to focus the camera where the child is going to be when the shutter is pressed. Even the best camera in the world will struggle to keep a running child in focus. Have your camera set to 'sports' mode (note that some cameras have a 'child' mode with the same effect) as this will tell the camera to set as high a shutter speed as possible and better freeze the action taking place.
See below for some recommended tools for photographing children.
Tools for Photographing Children
INCA Mini Table Tripod
The perfect tabletop tripod for compact digital cameras with a super compact, take-anywhere design.
Release knurled lock enables ultra low camera position for a wider range of creative shots.
Locking ball-head ensures secure camera position.
Height extends from 7cm to 21.5cm.
2 section legs with non-slip feet.
Fotobestway 2m Cable Release
Simply connect the Fotobestway cable release to your Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus or Sony DSLR to give remote shooting up to 2 meters away.
Used in conjunction with a tripod, remote cables are ideal for photographing city lights, fireworks and macro, or any scene that requires heightened stability.
Canon EF 50mm f1.8 Lens
At just 130g, this essential prime lens designed for all Canon DSLR models captures stunning natural and ambient lighting with beautiful background blur. Features Gaussian optical design with six elements in five groups - a well-proven formula known to offer excellent correction of aberrations and delivers amazing sharpness, even shooting wide open. 45cm minimum focusing distance.
Designed originally as a standard lens for 35mm film, the 50mm F1.8 is often also used on APS-C format DSLRs, where it is utilised as a short telephoto portrait lens (80mm equivalent).
Ideal for those looking to start experimenting with fast lenses for low light and shallow depth of field work, or simply seeking sharper results than those which can be provided by the kit lens bundled with the camera body. The Canon EF 50mm F1.8 has been in the lineup since late 1990 and its ability to produce consistent results at an inexpensive price point make it an essential lens to keep in your kit.
Nikon AF 50mm f1.8 D Lens
A fast, lightweight and compact lens featuring D technology providing distance information as part of flash and ambient light exposure processes.
It offers excellent low light gathering properties and great control over the depth of field, stopping down to f/22. Multi-layer coating minimises the effects of lens flare and ghosting. Accepts 52mm filters and the HR-2 lens hood.
This afforable Nikkor lens combines the ease of autofocus operation with advances Nikon optics and, being a tradition AF lens, will work with every Nikon ever made, digital and film, auto and manual focus (Note - AF not supported by D40 and D60, D3100, D3000, D5000 cameras)
Ideal for portrait, scenic or general photography and at just 155g is perfect companion lens for travel.