Share your ideas/tips on child/newborn photography

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by cwrivera, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. cwrivera

    cwrivera TPF Noob!

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    Hi all, thought this might be a good idea to have everyone share their ideas/tips on how you create a relationship/connection with the kids you are photographing, or how to get rid of that awkward moment at the beginning of the session and get them to act natural, etc. Also, any thoughts on newborn photography, how to get the babies to stay still/asleep, cool ideas for shots you may have done, etc. Feel free to contribute!
     
  2. pbsmoker

    pbsmoker TPF Noob!

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    I am definitely anxious to hear the responses on this. Do people generally use a little makeup on children? My daughter loves to pose, but seems to always have really blotchy skin. What do you guys do to solve this??
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    With young kids, newborns & babies...you really can't do much for them. I usually ask the parents when they think the child be be happiest and try to time the shoot for those times...but it's still hit and miss.
    With the young ones and often some of the older ones, it would be really hard for you to actually build a connection with them. I try to keep the parents happy and calm and hope that the kids feed off of that. I often have the parents engage the kid and use that to my advantage.

    A big key is patience. Kids will change their mood pretty fast, so it pays to be set up and ready to go when they stop screaming their heads off :er:. I've often had to have two or three goes at it, giving the kid a chance to mellow out in between...sometimes even a nap. Sometimes you just have to pack it in and do it another day. That's all part my my customer service plan...although, it may not be the most profitable method.

    Sometimes you just shoot them, even though they are crying etc. These can actually be really good because they are real and the child is showing real emotion. And sometimes a still shot won't even look like they are crying.

    Make up on a baby? No way.

    I've seen kids with cradle rash and other sorts of skin blotchness...but I'll take care of that in post processing rather than subject a kid to make up. Sometimes their faces & skin can be odd colors, this is when you convert the images to black & white (because it's artistic ;) )
     
  4. Bthornton

    Bthornton TPF Noob!

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    I take LOTS of children's photographs and with older ones (age 3 or so and up) I let them be my "helper" to get things ready, let them take a few photos with a cheap point and shoot. It really helps if they become my pal. With babies, they photograph well awake or sleeping, even pouting is cute. The hard ones for me is the 1-3 year olds a lot of the time. They tend to not like stranges, or to sit still or do much of anything you might want them to. I try a lot of things to get them in the mood. It could be anything from silly toys that I play with the parents with and ignore the child till they relax and want to join in. Sometimes at that age I let mom do all the work playing and I take the portraits.
    I also would not use make up on a child. Photoshop has saved many of sessions where the child had a boo boo.
     
  5. heavenlymom

    heavenlymom TPF Noob!

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    When doing newborns I try to use the parents as much as possible doing the pip pop version. I use their hands, their arms, their feet, their legs, their knees, and then their faces. Some don't want to do this and in that case we get the baby to sleep and take gorgeous photos. If they insist on the new born being awake it usually doesn't turn out well since brand new babies are always so squirmy.
    With children I let them play for about 10 minutes and get used to the room. We talk about their life and their friends. Then we dance to the backgrounds or make choo choo noises like a train (for boys). It helps to have mom and dad get in to this too. We start by doing funny faces and work our way up to the actual photography.
    I always take atleast an hour to do children for this reason.
     
  6. Pure Captures

    Pure Captures TPF Noob!

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    I really like Big Mike's suggestions; there's nothing wrong with shooting a crying baby. With kids that are a little bit older, let them play. Preferably in a way they actually want to. This isn't always doable in a studio, but that's why I like to shoot kids in a park or in their back yard, somewhere in their element. It's almost like the difference between photographing animals in a zoo or in the wild. Zoo and studio pictures can look good too, but I think there's something special about catching people OR animals in their natural habitat.
     
  7. youbetcha1018

    youbetcha1018 TPF Noob!

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    Shooting photographs on young ones, babies or newborns are kinda tough. Especially when they start to cry and look for their mommies.:( But it's quite easy if their mommies are around to calm them down or make them still. When their mamas are around, it'll be somewhat easy to take a good photographs on them.:)
     
  8. Mijoh

    Mijoh TPF Noob!

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    I'm a bit late on this topic, but Erin Bell, ejbphoto(?) on here I'm pretty sure, wrote a fantastic article on ways to interact with children on MCP Actions's blog. I'm sure if you sent her a message she'd be happy to link it to you. Getting children to interact with you is part of your job as a photographer in my opinion. No one wants to buy pictures of miserable children to hang up on their walls. Yes, crying babies can be cute, but most people aren't going to buy giant prints of them to put up on the walls. Interact with them. Sing silly songs. Get down on their level. Figure out if they're more comfortable with mom around, or without mom around. You never know. You might start getting a smile once you send mom out of the room so she'll stop "forcing" it.

    Great tip from Erin in that article: Don't ask them the same old questions like "How old are you?" They've heard it a million times and it's boring. Ask them who the funniest person in their class is, ask them to sing their favorite song at the top of their lungs, ask them who their best friend is. Just get them talking about things that matter to them. You'll be amazed at what knowing the lyrics to The Wiggles will get you. :) At least I have been. Mostly be ready to be quick. Eye contact is so important in children's portraiture.

    With newborns, keep them warm, keep them fed, and be very, very patient. As long as you have to wait for those sleeping shots, it's worth it. Space heaters or a heating pad are your friend for the naked baby shots.

    Sorry that was long, I'm a rambler!
     

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