by Essdras M Suarez, Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographer

cap·ta·tion [kapˈtāshən]
definition:  An attempt to achieve or acquire something especially artfully; reaching after

All Articles by Essdras M Suarez

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.

Boston, MA 031710 Siblings Brendan (cq) ,20 month-old,  and Nora (cq), 4, Dowling of West Roxbury  attended the St Patrick's Day mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on March 17, 2010 and examine their shamrock plants after the service. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)/ MET

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.

Boston, MA 062813  Alex Zhao (Cq), 4, was among twenty children who took part in the the Acorn Center graduation for Early Education and Care Graduation at the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center on June 28, 20913. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)/ MET

* 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.

Newton, Ma 072308   Six-year old Jessica Leahey, who uses a respirator hooked up to her through a tracheotomy,  shows off her ballet moves while at summer camp at the Day Middle School in Newton on July 23, 2008. She suffers from  Moebius syndrome may  shows symptomsthat  may include: 	•	Deformed tongue and jaw 	•	Hand or foot deformities (one third or more of cases), such as club foot or missing fingers 	•	Low muscle tone, meaning the child has trouble sitting or crawling 	•	Swallowing or breathing problems (Essdras M Suarez/Boston Globe)/ Metro

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.” ©

Essdras M Suarez for photowrkshop dir

me by tom for Nikon


A two-time Pulitzer prizewinner, Essdras M Suarez worked as a photojournalist for over 20 years, the last 12 with the Boston Globe.  He’s also received multiple awards for his portrait, food, product and travel photography.  His images have been published in such well-recognized publications as the National Geographic, Time Magazine, New York Times and Washington Post and many more national and international publications. Having worked in over 60 countries around the world, he is now based Alexandria, VA, where he established EMS Photo Adventures to enable the sharing of the diverse experience and knowledge gained as a photojournalist to the photo enthusiast.

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