Damian and Linda's Photography
Some actors say "never work with children or animals".
Children are fabulous to photograph, if we let them be. They are bursting with energy, imagination and enthusiasm and mostly all we need to do is watch. It's great if children can bring along favourite toys or props with them because it gives them something known with which to express themselves. If you are photographing someone else's children it's wise to have some toys on hand for the purposes of distraction but there is something great about a favourite item known to the child appearing in a framed photograph on the wall. If it's very big, like a horse or some goalposts, then take the camera equipment to the item rather than the other way round.
Children are very expressive and a lot less self-conscious than adults, and also (on the whole) quite receptive to being given direction. The whole experience of everyone watching them and seeing themselves on a big screen is all very engaging and in general they are too young to be shy and too old to be worried.
Shoots with children can produce a tremendous array of facial expressions and these can be surprising and delightful to look back on. If a child has a particular expression you are trying to capture, you might like to note the circumstances under which it happens. Very often, a vivid description of the events that triggered it will reproduce it as the child relives it - adults have learned to "mask" this but children let it shine through. It pays not to arrive with completely preconceived ideas about faces; sometimes we capture things you didn't know you liked and to arrive with a rigid script is a good way to miss out on those.
As always, flexibility and a relaxed approach is the key. Children pick up very readily on "performance anxiety" from their parents and over time will learn it for themselves in any case. Involving the child or children in the shoot itself by asking for their ideas and indulging a little can be a great way to get their co-operation for the pictures you would really like to see but upon which they may be less keen; a little give-and-take goes a long way.
© 2006-2016 Damian Harty. Design by Andreas Viklund.