Photographing Children

"The main thing to keep in mind when photographing children
is that they are most happy when they are playing,
so let them play."

Be Prepared

With that in mind, the photographer must also be ready and be able to anticipate a photographic opportunity. If they are playing a sport, what would be a good action shot for the sport? What leads up to that action?

Children playing are usually very active, so have the shutter and film speed set accordingly. I usually use around a 400 ISO setting and between 600 and 1000 shutter speed. These also depend on lighting conditions and the aperture setting used for depth of field.

Back Off

Do not get too close and let them know that their picture is being taken; this often leads to the unnatural smiling caused by the cheese effect (everyone say CHEESE!).

So for most outdoor child photography I recommend using a telephoto lens. It does not have to be super long. I use a 40-150mm. zoom lens. If you want to get tight head and solder shots from more than 40 feet away, you may want to go longer.

Cool Effect

Photographing Children

Now for the extra little touch. Set the aperture setting pretty low (larger opening) to narrow the depth of field. This will cause the foreground and background to appear out of focus while keeping the subject sharp. This really makes the subject stand out.

Just remember that the shorter the focal length of the lens, the deeper the depth of field; so this effect is easier to pull off with the telephoto lens mentioned above.

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