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How to Photograph Children

  • How to Photograph Children

Children are cute, fun to interact with, and have the best smile in the world.  They are also one of my favorite subjects to photograph. Even when they are not smiling, it is always interesting to capture the look on their faces. However, photographing children is very different from photographing hired models, and can be challenging if you just began to  practice photography.

Father and Daughter

Children have the most interesting expressions in the world.

Unlike teens and adults, children do not like to stand still and tend to move around alot. They are active, full of energy, and curious about almost everything you do. They are also easily distracted, and I use that to my advantage. They often have the most interesting look on their faces when they are not looking at the camera, and I believe it is best to photograph them without them knowing that they are being photographed. Also, it is easier to photograph little kids than older kids because little kids are less aware of the cameras, and that way you are more likely to capture some interesting looks on their faces.

Here are some tips I have compiled based on my experience.

  1. Lighting – Try to use just the natural light or lighting from the fixtures. I prefer not to use flash on children so I do not draw their attention and ruin the look on their faces that I am trying to capture. However, you may use flash if you feel that the environment is too dim or if you are shooting into the sun. Contrary to some claims, flash does not hurt children’s eyes.
  2. Shutter Speed – Children move quite a lot, that means you should use a faster shutter speed so the pictures do not turn out blurry. You shutter speed should be at least 1/200 seconds or faster.
  3. ISO – Adjust your ISO setting high enough to compensate for the quick shutter speed and limited lighting. However, since higher ISO means poorer image quality, if you can’t get the correct exposure at ISO below 1600 you may want to consider using a flash.
  4. Lens Selection – If you are shooting indoor and do not use or do not have a flash, you may want to use a lens that has wide aperture so you can capture as much light as possible. If you are shooting outdoor, you need a zoom lens so you can shoot from afar.
  5. Focusing Mode – When photographing children, it is best to use single-point auto-focusing so the camera can quickly adjust if the children move a lot.

These tips are only to serve as a starting point for you, and you should experiment with them to develop you own theory and style. You should also use your creativity when photographing children. Photographing children is fun, and so is photography in general. If you have any tips or other thoughts, feel free to share by leaving comments below.

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