Family Portrait Ideas for Children
We’ve covered many shooting tips already in this handbook, but here are a few more.
Try setting your camera to continuous shooting mode to capture action sequences.
You can then pick out the one that worked best later on and discard the rest or, if they all work quite well, you can print or display them as a sequence.
Find out how many shots in a row your camera can shoot because this will help you decide when to press the shutter release – DSLRs can take many without stopping, but most compacts might only be able to take three or four.
Find out too what the frame rate is. Three frames per second is about the minimum for reasonably rapid action.
Any slower and there’s a good chance the perfect shot might slip through the gap between frames.
If your camera can only manage one to two frames per second, you’re more likely to get the perfect moment by timing the shot manually rather than relying on an automated sequence.
Some cameras have super high-speed modes that assemble each frame into a single multi-celled image. This can make for an unusual snapshot.
If you want eye contact and a natural expression, you may need to cheat. You should have some tricks up your sleeve for attracting attention.
It may be enough simply to call the child’s name, or you could call out a cheeky word or pretend to fall over; anything to get an instant, unguarded response from the subject.
There’s always a way to get the expression and reaction you want – you just have to be patient and enter the world of a child rather than thinking like a harassed, impatient adult all the time.
And look out for handy props that can help add interest to the photo or provide a diversion for your subjects. A tree can become an impromptu climbing frame, and the incoming tide can make for a great game of wave-dodging.
One other thing. If you don’t have one already, you might want to consider investing in a direct photo printer with memory card slots for computer-free printing.
You can get small postcard-size 6 x 4 inch printers that can do this, or choose one of an increasing number of ordinary general-purpose A4 inkjets with card slots.
Children feel much more involved and interested if they can see pictures of themselves straight away.
Get down to their level
Too many shots of children are taken from an adult’s perspective, looking down. This makes them look small and insignificant and emphasises the dominance of the adult.
Instead, get down to the level of the child by squatting down on your heels or getting down on your knees.
Most children find this very disarming and even rather amusing, and you’ll get better pictures of them as a result.
You’ll also see the world through a child’s eyes and with a child’s perspective. You can achieve a similar effect using a compact camera with a swivelling LCD display held at waist level.
This can be good for candid shots, where you just want children to behave naturally without paying attention to you, but it’s no longer possible to get proper eye contact between the child and the camera lens.
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