One of the fascinating things about
children is the unexpected things they do. Taking pictures of them,
however, is not as easy as many people would think.
Different age groups react differently in
front of the camera. With babies, I would say that at least half of
them start to cry at once when they see a photographer point a strange
instrument, the camera, at them. If you can't get a good response on
your own, ask the mother to help. Sometimes she can.
Once I asked a mother to lie on a couch
and hold the crying baby on her stomach. It worked wonders. The crying
stopped almost at once, and the child forgot about me completely. I
then moved in close, eliminating the mother from the range of the
camera, and got some wonderful close-ups.
With older children, it's usually better
when the parents are not present during the photo session. They seem
totally incapable of restraining themselves from combing the child's
hair, straightening clothes, or whatever; all of which makes the child
self-conscious and inhibited. Under these conditions itís impossible to
get a really good picture.
The key word for handling children of any
age is patience. Don't talk down to them; try to become one of them.
Laugh at their kind of joke, play with their toy or pet. It is
important that they trust von and not be afraid. I. find that if I can
get the children interested in something they like to do, they become
less aware of the camera and, consequently, the better the photographs
turn out to be. With this in mind, keep equipment to the very minimum.
By concentrating on expressions and different camera angles you can get
a variety of images with one camera and only one lens.