In 1965 The Who had a song called, “The kids are alright”. As a portrait photographer it’s great working with kids. Until they are about 4 years old they’ll just do what they want to do. It makes for exciting shoots, as I’m never sure of what they are going to do next. It’s also fun working out the lighting, and sometimes it’s best to leave it simple and fairly broad.
Here are some examples from a recent shoot with two kids of different ages…
This shot was taken with a single big softbox quite close to the little boy, which gave pretty even lighting. He was looking up at his reflection in a curved mirror on the studio ceiling. The mirror was put there for just this sort of shot. His eyes said everything, so I didn’t need to show the rest of his face.
With this image the lighting is the same. It was important to catch her great expression and smile without her looking at the camera. A simple request for her to “Look at Mum and laugh”, gave the perfect balance of spontaneity and control. Her face is quite central, but that’s because I wanted to include her hair, which was falling nicely over her shoulders.
Here I’ve asked her to spin round so her hair was moving. It usually takes a few tries to get a good shape, but we nailed it first time. It’s great the way her hair has wound round to the back of her head. You can really see the energy she was putting into getting it right.
After the studio portraits we moved outside. As the weather was kind, with soft overcast light, I managed to get some good outdoor images. Using a wide aperture gave a good soft background, which allowed me to concentrate on his cute expression and eyes.
So yes, taking portraits of kids is great fun. Don’t worry if you aren’t one, or don’t have any, I’m happy shooting adults too!