by Essdras M Suarez, Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographer
definition: An attempt to achieve or acquire something especially artfully; reaching after
On Photographing Children
Here are some of the many of reasons why photo aficionados love to photograph children:
* Being a child is part of everyone’s human experience, thus we can relate.
* We equate childhood with innocence.
This image was made during an St Patrick’s celebration in Boston. I waited for the rest of the media to walk away and then these siblings stopped posing and behave like children.
* We appreciate children’s innate capacity to see the world different and anew.
* They have a unique perspective of the world.
* They are curious by nature and are not afraid to experiment and to push boundaries.
* They find enjoyment in the most basic of actions.
* They have very short attention span, which means sooner than later they end up ignoring the photographer.
Tips when photographing children:
* Be patient
* Be ready for the unexpected
* Get eye level with your subject.
* Allow the kids to be themselves
* Don’t strive for contrived portraits but instead aim to capture natural- candid images.
On this occasion, I was assigned to do a portrait of this beautiful little girl who suffered from a disease called Mobius Syndrome a.k.a. The Mask Syndrome, since those afflicted have no control of their face muscles. I put her by a window and she stood there while I photographed her… not that exciting. Then she called her mom over and told her a secret. Her mom turned to me with a smile and said, “She wants to show you she’s being taking ballet lessons.”
* Go with the flow. If they don’t want to ignore you while you photograph them, then make it a game and play along. Great moments are abound as children play.
* Try to capture the essence of the moment of whatever they might be doing.
* Whenever possible try to use natural light. This will allow you to be more flexible when it comes to your backgrounds, on your reaction time, and movements.
* Use low apertures and selective focus. This will be a bit harder but if you do it right, you’ll be happy you created those separation planes.
* Put yourself in their shoes and ask what would bore me if I were a kid? And then do the opposite.
* And for Pete’s sake: Have fun! Be funny, think like a kid.
And as always, remember pretty much every photographic situation can be tackled by following my shooting mantra:
“Keep shooting, keep moving, keep adjusting.” ©
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