Modern family life is busy and hectic for everyone, so the opportunities for digital photography of growing children are often hit-and-miss or regulated to holidays and birthdays. Even then, any photos you take are during fast-paced celebrations or family activities. It’s difficult to plan actual photography sessions with your children, where you’re able to concentrate on creating great photos that capture their true personalities and interests.
That’s why you should take advantage of your children’s reprieve from school during the summer months and schedule some time to photograph each of them as subjects of planned photo shoots. Of course, you still want to record the memories of the annual family vacation and your children’s summertime activities in pictures, but also find some one-on-one time to compose casual, but thoughtful portraits of whom they are today. Think of these as images for the family time capsule.
For these kinds of digital photos of your children, invite them to contribute creative ideas, in terms of a theme and a place they would like to be photographed. Allow them to choose what clothes they’ll wear, or at least make a compromise that you’ll photograph them in their choice as well as yours. They can also select a prop, such as a toy, sporting equipment or other items that either make them more relaxed and/or helps to define their personality or what is important in their lives today.
You may discover that some children aren’t comfortable in a planned digital photography session; even it is casual. An alternative technique is to photograph your children at play, either alone or with siblings and friends. This applies specifically to young children. The idea is to be as unobtrusive as possible and allow their natural inquisitiveness to lead you into their activities and capture the spontaneous and precious photos that are often the result. If possible, shoot with a telephoto lens, so you can position yourself at some distance, but still compose excellent pictures of their awe and wonder playing with a toy, examining a blade of grass or reacting with surprise to the world around them.
Thinking like a child is what will often help you see the world as he or she does and, therefore, be able to recognize when the best moments occur, and capture them with your camera. Professional children’s portrait photographers recommend that you put yourself at the same eye level as a child to help you picture his or her world. Photographing them from a standing position is a view from the eye level and perspective of adults/parents, which is exactly what you want to avoid if your goal is taking pictures that will be as meaningful and interesting decades from now.
Teens are often challenging to convince to sit for digital photography sessions, so it’s particularly important that they have some input as to theme, location and apparel. Simply the process of selecting different ensembles to wear for the photos is an excellent catalyst to pique teens’ interest in being photographed.
Another key to motivating your teens to pose for your camera during the summer months is using photo-editing software, such as Photoshop and Lightroom, to make sure they look their best. With these digital tools, you’re able to soften facial features, enhance eye color, smooth the skin, etc. Another great idea is to purchase Photobacks Modern Classic Package of digital templates and backdrops. It includes more than 100 templates that will help you and your teens create a finished look that will excite them, and even make them eager to be photographed again. Visit photobacks.com for more information.
Even if you’re a digital photographer and you relish the opportunity to improve your skills by taking pictures of your children, the summer months are also a good time to schedule more formal sessions with a professional photographer who specializes in children’s portraits. He or she has the training and experience to understand how to create the best composition and manage children. Plus, a professional will provide you with a different perspective compared to the pictures you take. You may be able to create very interesting collections/albums with a selection of both sets of images.
The summer is here, so make plans quickly to photograph your children, or hire a professional, during the next three months. Your children will never look or interact with the world quite the same next year, so make sure to capture these moments before they are gone forever.
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Photograph by Photography Talk Member Chrsitine Bickenbach