How to Get Great Photos of Kids

Ever try taking photos of a six-year-old who never stays still? How about 20 of them? In this video, Jay P. Morgan shows you how to tackle photographing children without actually tackling them. Between shooting tips, lighting advice, and practical suggestions, Morgan gives you a good overall guide to photographing any group of rascally kids:

For lighting this shoot, Morgan has used a Photoflex 72-inch Umbrella, Dynalite MH2015 flash head, and a Dynalite XP-800 Battery Pack.

Morgan’s 14 Tips to Photographing Kids:

  1. Schedule – Match your schedule to theirs. Nap time is not a good time to photograph kids, and neither (usually) is when they’re eating. Pick a time when they’ll be active and doing something that gives you lots of photo ops.
  2. Be Patient – It may be frustrating try to chase around a bunch of children all day trying to get a specific shot. But sometimes you have to wait for a good shot.
  3. Be Persistent – Being patient doesn’t mean sitting there until you think a good opportunity arises. Keep shooting all the while, even if it’s not exactly what you’re looking for. You may surprise yourself with some great unexpected shots.
  4. Lay On Floor – Getting down to eye level or lower with the kids will give you a better perspective.
  5. Show Them The Images – Show the children a few of your images. They like to be the center of attention and may cooperate with you more (or just bug you more).
  6. Interact With Them – Don’t be some guy behind a camera. Talk with them, play with them. The more comfortable they are with you, the more comfortable they’ll be doing things around you and acting naturally spontaneous.
  7. Bribe Them – By this, Morgan does not mean giving them candy or other goodies to make them do something. Instead reward them with something they can do or that makes them feel good. Tell them they can wear your hat or hold your camera and take a photo of you.
  8. Shoot When They Don’t Know It – Younger kids will only think you’re shooting if the camera is to your face. Use this to your advantage by shooting with the camera away from you or on a tripod.
  9. Be Spontaneous – Don’t just wait for the kids to do something interesting, ask them to move to a certain area of the room and play or give them a bunch of balloons to play with. Have fun with it.
  10. Shoot Fast – Kids move incredibly fast. Playful moments and certain expressions can last only seconds so always be camera ready.
  11. Don’t Get Distracted – When a child tries to distract you with a joke or story or what have you, don’t forget to keep shooting. This doesn’t necessarily mean ignore the child, but know that any moment can be a photographic opportunity.
  12. You Cannot Shoot Enough – With digital, you have almost unlimited space to capture photos. Keep clicking away. Even if you end up with hundreds of bad photos, a few good ones will be worth it.
  13. Bring Extra Shirts – For purposes of hiding certain logos and trademark characters, this is great. But it also puts the kids in less distracting shirt designs and more complementary colors.
  14. Use Simple Props – Don’t be afraid to bring a few toys or other gadgets for the kids to play with.
photographing children kids young school

You have to be quick to capture the best shots of children

Photographing kids is not easy. They’re quick, spontaneous, and not always cooperative. But patience and persistence will get you the shots that you really desire.

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