How to Photograph Children

Posted by Gary Ramey on April 30th, 2012

The Top Three Things to Do When Photographing Children

  • Spend a lot of time with your subject
  • Get down on their level
  • Use a wide open aperture for limited depth of field

Copyright 2011 Maria HendersonThe photograph on the right was taken by Maria Henderson, one of my students. This a wonderful example of the top three things you should do when photographing children. The depth of field is shallow with the eyes in sharp focus and her angle of view is nearly level with her subject. The composition enhances the immediacy of the shot and emphasizes the child’s enthusiasm.

Spend a Lot of Time with Your Subject

By spending time with your subject you can develop a rapport that will be visible in the photographs.

Get Down on Their Level

The number one mistake made by beginning photographers is to stay at the the same viewpoint all the time. They simply walk around and take photos from the same standing position. This is an especially bad habit when taking photographs of children. All your photos will be looking down at them and they will treat you as an observer.

Use a Wide Open Aperture for Limited Depth of Field

Since children are in constant motion, it will be very difficult to keep them in focus. It will take a lot of practice to be constantly changing focus as you follow them around. Your camera may be able to help. Change the focus setting so that it will automatically refocus moving subjects. Another approach would be the same taken with wildlife photography — observe the pattern of motion of your subject and pre-focus where you can predict where the subject will be. One of the advantages of this approach is that you can capture the child unawares by using a remote release and a tripod. You don’t have to be behind the camera to take a photograph so your photographs will be more candid.

Creative Dad Takes Crazy Photos of Daughters For some really creative ideas for photographing children, check out Creative Dad Takes Crazy Photos Of Daughters.

Jason Lee is a wedding photographer. Most of the ideas come from his daughters – eight-year-old Kristin and five-year-old Kayla. Jason says that they are never-ending source of ideas. Maybe I should have called this post The Top Four Things to Do When Photographing Children and added one more thing to do:

Ask the children if they have any ideas.

Please feel free to share your photos when commenting on this post.



Leave a Comment