Photographing Children

If you are stuck for ideas on how to photograph children and want to get some natural, fun-filled shots, just go to the park!

Photographing Children Tip No. 1: Have Fun in the Park

Since children move constantly, and speedily, pick one spot in the park that you know they will have to go past, the still point of the ever-turning wheel if you like, and then wait.

Fun in the Park: Photo by Anne Darling

Sit down, get your camera settings just as you want them, and then wait for the express train to arrive at the station. If you are in the park, the slide (or chute as it is called in my native Scotland) is a great place to park yourself and your camera.

And kids love an audience, they have done something so very exciting and special, the joy will be evident in your shot, and it will look very natural. You just have to be patient and make sure you have selected a fast shutter speed!

Photographing Children Tip No. 2: Enter Their World

Underground World: Photo by Anne Darling

Children love secret places, the kind of places adults can't go. This photograph was taken of some children playing in a park which bordered on a road with space under the road for the kids to crawl through. It makes you feel drawn into the space by the crouching boy at the near end and the dark figure of the boy at the other end.

With this kind of shot you have to keep back quite a way otherwise you'll find the children acting unnaturally. You want them to get lost in their own imaginative world without intruding. I like shots like this because they trigger memories from my own childhood. Do you remember the secret places you used to play?

Intergenerational Communication: Photo by Anne Darling

You have to be careful if you photograph children in public spaces if you don't know them or their parents. As a female photographer, I think it is a bit easier for me than perhaps for a male photographer. If I am in doubt, I will interact with the adult first or ask permission but in this instance I just clicked away.

In fact, the shot is as much street photography as anything. I liked the way all the children in the photograph were looking anywhere except at the woman who is clearly displeased with them. Do you remember the powerlessness you felt when an authority figure wagged a finger at you?

Interesting images of children can easily be found when we enter into their world. It's readily available to us, through our own memories and imagination.

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