How to photograph babies and young children

  • Photographs of young children can bring pleasure to many people, not only their parents and close relatives.

  • The important thing to remember is that young children tire easily. Patience will be needed to get the best out of what might be a very brief photographic sessions. If the child seems to be becoming unhappy it is best to take a break and restart at a later time. Try to avoid dressing young children up in strange costumes, as these can humiliate them. The child should be having fun, and not be made fun of.

  • Natural light is probably the best, as it will not distract or distress the child. Very young babies are often upset by flashlight.

  • Try to think ahead about backgrounds. An ugly intrusion can ruin what would otherwise be a great shot, and there may not be a chance to move the subject. As well as more formal portraits try to photograph the young child engaged in some activity playing, or perhaps at bathtime.

  • When photographing small children in a studio or away from home, have a few toys for them to play with. They may well not be able to understand a request to go to a particular place or do something specific. Often the only way of getting the right expression from a child is to play the fool.

  • With children who are two years old or more, Polaroid pictures can be a great help at the photography session. They will be fascinated by seeing the results instantly.

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