You may remember I had Peanut’s pictures taken a few months back by the lovely and talented Tanya Alexis. I’m obsessed with the final prints and thought she was incredible with the Little Miss. Since it’s sometimes difficult to photograph our kids and make it look good, I asked her for some professional tips. Here’s her best advice to make the most of your photos.
As a child, I often had a camera pointed at me. My father was an avid photographer. We have loads of slide carousel boxes in storage to prove it. I remember going out of my way to make taking my picture difficult, because I didn’t want to be photographed at that moment. Even to this day, my sister, brother, and I let out a sigh followed by “Daaa-ad, no.” Although, now we usually take a deep breath and smile.
The tips below are behavioral rather than technical, although a little technical talk is thrown in for good measure.
When photographing your child, it is extremely important to remember how you feel every time someone points a camera at you. Do you always love having your picture taken? Even if you love having your picture taken, your child may not. I firmly believe everyone wants to be shown respect, even babies and toddlers.
If you put your camera up to take a picture and your child buries their head and recoils. Put the camera down. Ask your child, if it is okay to photograph them. If they say no, tell them why you want to take the picture. Say “You look soooo cute right now when you just did _________. I really wish I had a picture of it, so you could see just how cute you look.” That line works really well with young girls More often then not, they will say ok. If they say no, put the camera down for 5 or 10 minutes and then ask again. Kids change their minds very quickly. It may be torture to try and get a good photo, but if you took it 5 minutes later, it may be a rather quick and painless experience (for you both).
The Technical Tips
If you keep your cameras on full auto mode, your photos will be hit or miss. Learn how to adjust the ISO. If you are shooting in really bright light you want a low ISO (100 – 400), there will be less noise (pixelation). If you are inside and it is pretty dim, you will need a higher ISO (800 and up). The higher your ISO, the more noise in your photo, but on the plus side it won’t be as blurry!
On-camera flash is perfect when your subject is 10 feet away. If your flash photos look too bright, take a few steps back and zoom in.
Tips for buying a camera
Stop by your local camera store (preferably not on a weekend, so the staff will have more time to chat). Let them know why you want the camera and how you want to use it. Have them suggest a few cameras. Go home and do some research online to see what others are saying about your suggested cameras. If your store was really helpful, go back to purchase the camera from them and ask any final questions.
The world is divided into two people – those who read manuals and those who don’t. To fully understand your camera and what it is capable of, take the time to read the manual. I know most of us haver very little free time, but read it, in the end it will probably save you some headaches and allow you to get some photos you would not have been able to without knowing how your camera works.
Make a cheat sheet of the functions you think you will need most and keep it in your camera case. This way if you forget how to do something, you have a quick reminder.
Tanya is a children’s portrait photographer in New York and Los Angeles. Tanya will be in NYC for fall sessions from September 13th – September 19th. Stroller Ballet readers will receive half off their session fee as well as one set of custom holiday cards. Please contact Tanya as soon as possible as there will only be a limited number of sessions available. She can be reached at (917) 400-4456 or via her website www.originalkidsbyta.com.