David Spowart is a fantastic portrait photographer with over 8 years experience in the business. Here are some of his top tips for getting the best photographs of your little ones, with or without fancy equipment:
The right outfit
It’s an obvious one, but think about the clothing that represents them best. Something that they feel proud of, whether it’s a spiderman costume or a tutu, could give them (and you) an extra valuable minute or two of patience. Avoid stripes and patterns that are close together, because they will warp on camera. White brightens under most cameras, so it can look like a washing powder commercial, but on the other hand with children’s portraits I sometimes really like the look. Reds and oranges tend to glow on camera so those are best avoided.
They’re great when energy levels start to drop. From trucks, to crayons, to fruit. Give them something to hold or do and you’ll get some extra snap time. With babies (depending on their age), I’ll usually wave a favourite toy as close to the lens as possible, or sometimes strategically place a parent.
Catch them by surprise
I find it’s hard to get a natural looking expression from a child when they’ve been asked to pose, so I try to distract them with jokes or games. Some of my favourite shots have been taken with parents pulling faces just above my head whilst I’m shooting. Then, as the children are busy laughing hysterically, I’ll ask them to look into the camera briefly, and shoot as quickly as I can!
Get the close up
It’s really their faces that we want a record of most, so experiment with taking close ups. I especially like to focus on the eyes with wide apertures that blur out the background. Also experiment with angles. Shooting from above will emphasise their smaller size, getting down and shooting at their eye level gives a lovely intimate and direct feel. (Image Will)
Use natural light
Without professional lighting, and especially with an automatic built-in flash, it’s very hard to get lighting that isn’t too stark. I love shooting outdoors and near windows or doorways. It’s much more forgiving.