Editors’ Note: Here are key tips from guest author and truly incredible photographer of children, Ross Whitaker. Ross is also a reviewer at Eyeist, which is a sponsor of the August Babies & Children photo contest (open for submission through August 22nd).
Tips by Ross Whitaker
1. Don’t train kids to hate getting pictures taken! If every time a camera comes out around kids and a grown-up is yelling at them—“Come over here!” “Smile!” “Say cheeseburger!”—they will quickly learn that the camera is a negative experience. Instead of forcing the kids into your “photography world,” take your camera and photography into their world. Play with them! You and the kids will have much more fun, and get better photos.
2. Be ready to capture the moment! Photographing kids can be a lot like photographing sports. There is a decisive moment. Practice seamlessly operating your equipment so that your attention is on the kids, not on your camera. You’ll be ready for that moment.
3. Don’t over direct! With kids, and especially babies, think about their real life. Are there three big humans standing over them, loudly, “lla la la lee lee la la?” I don’t think so. Those magic moments usually come from a place of peace, calm and warmth.
4. Timing, Timing, TIMING! I can’t stress this enough. Would you want to do a photo session at 2:00AM? Babies are usually best in the morning; toddlers the same; teens after school. You know what is/was the best, happiest times for your own kids. If it works for them, it probably works for other kids. Nicely rested, well fed kids make great photos.
5. Be spontaneous! Remember they: run, jump, laugh, cry, pout, scream, are quiet, read, giggle, hide, eat, and generally be kids. All of these moments are part of a child’s life. I think all of these moments merit an equal place in your photographic vocabulary. You’re trying to communicate something fresh about this child, these children. So, try something out of your ordinary comfort zone. Bring out your own “inner kid.” Have fun!
Ross Whitaker is a Photographer/Director who specializes in shooting commissioned photos of children and lifestyle for advertising, catalogs, books, and editorial publications. Ross splits his time between NYC andSan Clemente, CA… Ross has been working at this for over 32 years.. Geez, time flies when your havin’ fun…
A short list of the folks that keep us busy: American Girl, Cheerios, Kool-Aid, Quaker Oats, John Deere, Nabisco, Beechnut, Gerber, Enfamile, Dannon, Playtex, Oragel, Triaminic, GE, Fisher Price, Sesame Street, Samsung, Evenflo, Merck, and Disney.
Ross also launched Pimzlo Media to produce New Media content. Pimzlo Media has won the prestigious “Gold Muse” Award from the American Association of Museums for a Podcast series for George Eastman House.
You can check Ross out on Eyeist.com here. You can view his personal site here.