Tips for Photographing Toddlers and Children (Winnipeg Child Photographers)

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Funny what you notice.

I never noticed cars until I was looking for a car to buy. I never thought about breeds of dogs until I had a dog. The same goes for being a children’s photographer. I notice people taking children’s pictures and often cringe, and think “What are they thinking?” Obviously, I would rather be taking photos of these children myself, but the next best thing for me is to ensure that people at least are taking the best photos of their children possible. With that in mind, here are some tips:

WATCH YOUR CHILD AT PLAY:

Rather than instructing, positioning, and asking your child to smile – take a step back and just watch. Capture natural moments, rather than taking a staged “Say Cheese” photograph.
SET UP MOMENTS
Keep your child occupied and happy by giving them an activity or toy that they love; use bubbles, a new toy or get them to run, jump or hop.  If your children are happy and active, great photos are sure to follow.
GET ON THEIR LEVEL
Sit on the ground, or lay down if you need to. Be sure to come in close and observe the little things in those moments too- their hands, feet, smile, etc. Play around with the perspective and you’ll find some amazing moments to capture that you would have otherwise missed standing up!
WATCH FOR BACKGROUNDS
Try and avoid shooting towards backgrounds that are busy and distracting. But if the background is busy and can’t change it, then move your body. Sometimes just moving and changing your camera position or angle will help you to avoid a busy background. Look for natural frames as well.
NATURAL LIGHT 
Using light wisely will improve your photos more than anything else you could possibly do. Avoid flash indoors and try to use window light or available light if possible. Flash indoors will create harsh shadows and a “deer in the headlights’ type of look. When outdoors, look for the best light; probably in the shade. You might want to try turning on your flash outdoors. Not all situations call for it but it can be useful to fill in shadows.
LEAVE THE CHEESE IN THE FRIDGE
Asking your child to say “cheese” is perhaps the best way to get a cheesy grin but is that what you want? Aim for a natural smile.  There are tons of ways to make children smile and laugh. Be goofy; make faces, animal noises, sing, squeal; the skies the limit!  I guarantee that you’ll love the results more than that cheesy, phony grin!
A BETTER CAMERA WILL NOT MAKE YOU A BETTER PHOTOGRAPHER!
I found this on Facebook. It is not an original but I love this message.
One question I always ask students when teaching them photography is, “What is the most important thing that you need in order to take better photographs?”  The answer is always overwhelmingly; a good camera. The correct answer of course is knowledge. Someone who understands composition, lighting and a pile of other things, can take a better photo with an inexpensive point and shoot camera than someone who buys an expensive SLR but hasn’t got a clue about photography.
Think about that before you spend a huge amount of money on a camera. Learn some basics first.
Happy Shooting!

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