At littlehipstar we try to do in-house production as often as possible to perfectly capture our signature style and spirit. Over time we learned a lot from working with our own children and with the ones from our friends and relatives. When I think back to our first images… Oh boy, we did so many mistakes! Here are our ten tips for producing high-quality children’s photographs.
1. Plan in advance and be ready the second the little ones arrive!
This sounds so obvious, I know, but it is the one part that will hit you hardest if done wrong. With babies and toddlers you have no time to test around or mess around with the set-up. Their attention span is rather short so on average you have an average 30 minutes at most. After that it’s almost impossible to produce good photos. So be sure to have the set-up, light and all the necessary tools and equipment in place.
For an easy and flawless outfit changing process, arrange the clothes look by look and make sure way in advance that you have the exact sizes of the kids you want to photograph.
2. Try to use daylight and a fast lens whenever possible!
We tried using flash but I’d be lying if I said they were useful and great. After a while it will start making the babies and toddlers nervous and uncomfortable, even if you reflect it off a wall or use soft boxes.
But there’s another challenge: toddlers move all the time, almost never standing still, so make sure you have a fast lens with a large aperture to ensure your photographs do not come out blurry.
3. Which lens?
I love to photograph with fixed-focal-length lenses 50mm 1.8for a 30mm 1.4f. It just gives you a lovely blurry background while the child remains in sharp focus. Also, because these lenses are fast, you can get a very short exposure time, which will help you to produce sharp images.
Because these lenses have no zoom, you have to move around all the time and can’t use a tripod – but it’s worth it! Trust me.
4. Fast camera
Use a DSLR Camera, everything else has too much response time and you won’t capture that special moment when the child is smiling or laughing or most importantly looking in the camera. I love my Nikon D750, it takes 6 images per second, and the autofocus sensor is highly advanced.
5. Have a nice selection of props ready
Grown-up models can hold a pose – toddlers won’t. Children up to 4 years (if not older) don’t care that they are being photographed. They just want to have fun and play. Props like balloons, rattles, soft or wooden toys, etc. will keep them in a good mood for longer.
Most children, and toddlers especially, love to dance! Ask the parents if their child has a favorite song and put it on repeat – you can’t imagine how many great shots come out of happy, dancing children!
7. Let the parents „work“ for you!
Children are always looking where their parents are. You can take advantage of that by positioning one of them behind you, this way, you have a higher chance that the child will look into your camera.
8. Be flexible!
Even if you worked everything out, things rarely go exactly as planned. Adapt quickly and improvise – I’m always so surprised how many great shots happen by chance, for example while the kids are being dressed or taking a short break.
9. Have experienced moms in your team!
Especially when shooting newborns of first-time parents, it’s best to have an experienced and comforting mom in your team to help with dressing the child and giving the parents the feeling that they are in good hands.
10. Don’t push it!
Maybe this is the most important thing I’ve learned! Whether you are photographing babies, toddlers or kids – don’t push them and make them do something they don’t want to. Just like grown-ups can have a bad mood, so children can, too. If necessary, take a break or reschedule.
I hope these tips will help you and I’m sure you have some bits of advice of your own. It would be great if you can share with us in the comments section below!