Thank you all so much for your comments! It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there and share your struggles, so again, THANK YOU!
And guess what?! Because you are here with me now, being proactive with your education, I’m confident that you’ve got what it takes to be “One of The Best” at photographing kids!
So…..Are You Hungry?!
Well, then grab a snack, but not to heavy because we are about to get into some real meat and potatoes! Its time to discover that posing workflow that is going to rock your world and change how you photograph kids! With this you will be successful!
My Simple Posing Workflow
#1- Full Length Standing Pose
#2- Full Length Sitting Pose
#4- Prop Shot
#5- Details Shot
#6- Personality Shot
POSE 1: Full Length Standing
Parents want to see how big their child was at this age; try to arrange them in the photograph in a way that shows their size.
I like to start with this because most of the time when a child arrives, he is standing and/or walking around, and I can get my settings right while he is busy exploring. A lot of kids don’t respond well if you come right out of the gate trying to get them to pose, and standing is a very unposed shot. Think of standing poses that are very natural to a child–like leaning on a tree or climbing on a fence. Another reason I start with standing is because you have to be further away to take the shot, and that distance will give the child the space to warm up to getting their his taken. Often with a standing shot, when I am ready, I will just call his name and get the look he gives me immediately which is often a very innocent and inquisitive look. Or, I will shoot him in his element and capture the story of what he is exploring. I will usually take one of him facing me and one of him walking away. For older children who can follow directions, I may choose a posed shot or give them directions about what to do as I’m photographing them.
POSE 2: Full Length Sitting
Just to mix it up, kids look good sitting too. Change one other element from pose 1 to create more variety. For example, you can change such things as perspective (high angle) or clothing (take shoes off).
With this shot, I am still a ways back and allowing the child to get used to me taking her picture. I have not invaded her personal space. I like the sitting pose because the child is not moving, and I can move seamlessly to the next pose where it is most helpful if she is still. It also adds more variety and a different perspective. If the child will not sit still and keeps getting up to run away, sitting her on something like a big rock or tree branch will give you just the amount of time needed to get the shot before she runs away. If the child is high enough, she won’t be able to get down, but make sure a parent is within arm’s reach at all times. I also really enjoy shooting this pose from above because it is the angle we see our children often; looking up at us.
POSE 3: Close-up
Every parent wants a close-up. They sell every time! Take one with a smile and one with a serious expression.
I like to move to the close-up next because by this time, the child is used to me taking his picture and and is more comfortable with me being in his space. Also, it is usually a quick transition to zoom in for a close-up while he is sitting because he is much more still than while he is standing and running around. Get two different expressions for your close-up–such as a smile and a serious expression or looking away. If the child is old enough to follow directions, I like to incorporate the hands into the picture in a natural way–such as them resting their chin on them or having them brush their hair out of their face.
POSE 4: Prop
This can be as simple as a hat or scarf, so if you don’t like to use props, don’t fret. However, props often help contain rambunctious kiddos or add color to a pose.
This can be as simple as a hat or scarf, so if you don’t like to use props, don’t fret. Often props are quite helpful to help grab the interest of little ones or contain them. A prop like a ladder is great for a little one who likes to climb, or a bucket for a child to carry and put things in. I usually only choose one per session unless they are extremely simple like a scarf because you don’t want your props to distract from your main subject, the child.
POSE 5: Details
Shoot physical details such as hands, feet, shoes, hair, eyelashes. Capture as many as you can because these are what change as children grow up quickly.
Hands, feet, shoes, hair, eyelashes–capture as many as you can because these are what change and grow so fast. You can either do this as a completely separate pose and use your macro lens, or incorporate it throughout the session. Grab a shot of the hands when the child is picking something up. Or their locks of hair as she is spinning. If you want to switch lenses and do this as an individual pose, it is sometimes very helpful to have the parent hold the child or sit and play with her while you get the shots. You don’t have to worry about expressions here.
POSE 6: Personality
Shoot an aspect of their personality (running, jumping, spinning, dancing or whatever highlights their personality). I save this until last because often they will get quite crazy.
I save this until last because often the child will get quite crazy, or I will. After this shot, she is usually a bit wound up, and it would be difficult to do the other poses. She is usually done taking pictures by this point and I need to shift the session to something more fun. So we dance or jump or run. Sometimes though, you will have a child whose personality just doesn’t fit rambunctiousness. This is a great time just getting her doing what she likes to do. Switch to an observation mode and shoot her in her element. Maybe she loves to sit and play with leaves or rocks. Maybe she’s a Daddy’s girl, and you get a shot with the parent.
Its your time, so get started becoming one of the best!!
Married and living in Roseburg, Oregon with 4 kids of her own, she is one of the most real, honest and down to earth people you will ever meet. It’s been said that Jenny has an uncanny ability to elicit great expressions out of any kid. She believes there isn’t a child out there that she couldn’t get a great photograph of. Her secret?? Patience. Determination. And an understanding and love of children.
Jenny’s confidence and passion spills out from her ‘Can Do’ spirit. She doesn’t believe being a successful photographer is a matter of what gifts you were born with, but how hard you’ve worked and how many failures you’ve overcome. Being completely self-taught has presented her with many challenges, but also an understanding for the needs and doubts among aspiring photographers. She never claims to be the absolute expert, but is willing to do whatever it takes to figure it out, and to help those around her succeed.
Jenny has earned recognition as an award winning photographer by the National Association of Professional Child Photographers, Shoot and Share Magazine and various other blogs and websites. When she’s not being a mama or photographing clients, you can find her filling her time with a variety of creative avenues like: refinishing furniture, redesigning/remodeling her home or cutting a friend’s hair.
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