I’m kind of a romantic when it comes to photographing people. I love to photograph couples in love (or even pretending to be in love for a photo shoot.) I also love weddings and engagement shots. But, when it comes to photographing children my fantasy of capturing those adorable, “AWWW” moments always crash with reality. Children are really, really hard to photograph. They are kind of like dogs…they don’t really like to look at the photographer through the camera. They have a tendency to talk to you looking away. Or they smile some kind of phony smile and you never really get a good photo of their personality. Or…they wiggle and run and giggle so much that it’s just plain difficult to catch them.
Such was the case with two children that I (tried to) photograph this weekend. The first little girl was about 4-5 and she was there to be photographed with her beautiful mom. She was a wiggle worm. She was also pretty typical. She would pose for a while and then she wouldn’t want to do it anymore. Then she would pose a little more. Then she would run around and play. Truthfully, this is the way it should be. I’ve found that, like photographing anyone, I try to get a good repoire with children first. Let them get a little comfortable with me without my camera to my face and get them to loosen up a little before I put the camera to my face. Then, keep talking to them while snapping away. I probably get maybe 1 good photo for every 10 that I take when I’m trying to catch a child’s personality. The other thing is they get tired of posing for the camera really quickly, so the photographer has to be quick and the photographer has to let the child run and wiggle before trying to photograph them again.
This little gal had the most beautiful brown eyes and lovely, curly hair. And…she was a pistol. So, I was trying very hard to capture her personality along with trying to get her to look at the camera. I probably took 40 photos of her and I kept about 6. I like this one because she is looking right at my camera, it’s got that lovely curl covering her eye and she stopped for one second to think about an answer to a question I asked her.
Here she is again with her mom, sitting on the wing of an airplane. This photo is cropped and doesn’t show them sitting on the wing. I loved the original photo, but her little hands were moving and, unfortunately blurred. Dang. Anyway, this shows that even if you have one or two aspects of a photo that aren’t perfect, you can still crop a little to get a pretty decent shot.
Here is another little 10 year old child that I photographed. She was there with her mother, but the mother was not one of the models. This little gal was absolutely beautiful. Her eyes were amazing and she had lovely blond hair. She brought several lovely outfits with her which made her look like a catalog model. She was just a beautiful little child. However, I could not get a personality shot out of her.
She had this same smile in every one of her photos. This is the closest I could get to a natural look and it’s only because her hair is blowing a little in the wind. I’ve had this personality issue before with other little children around the age of 10-12. Usually they are quite familiar with posing for photographs and they have probably been told all their lives that they have a beautiful smile, or wonderful eyes or how photographic they are. They have learned to pose when a camera is in front of their face. Their poses are lovely and perfect, but they never show personality. I see that I have a lot of work to do with personal repoire with children this age and with lots of practice in front of photographers.