(photo credit: Rachel Jacoby)
Tom Langford is a commercial photographer, professional retoucher, and a website designer.
Taking family snaps is easy, but taking good, interesting pictures of your young
children or grandchildren is quite a challenge. Every now and then we all take a
lovely snap of a cute expression - this is fine for the family album but not
satisfying if you are a photography enthusiast, especially if it has distracting
background details. Here some tips that may help you to capture a superior
Your first concern should be to select an uncluttered
location for the shot.
A tidy area of floor and wall, patio or garden
would be good. Next choose something simple that might occupy the child’s
attention. In the shot below Rachel Jacoby (from Israel) has used packs of
Rachel has caught an excellent
expression looking up at the camera, but I would like to take the process one
step further – after taking pictures of the child, try taking pictures of the
child’s involvement with the props.
It’s a good idea to imagine a few
possible variations and compositions before you start. If you can visualize how
a picture will look from a variety of angles before you take a shot you can move
into position to take the best pictures without wasting time playing about with
For example, let’s suppose we used the same kitchen rolls and
encouraged the child to build a castle with them. A good way to develop your
photographers imagination is to try and sketch different ways in which you could
shoot this - don’t worry how good your drawings are, but try to fill the frame
and roughly indicate the composition. Most probably none of these shots will
materialize, but the ability to pre-visualise them will help you to spot other
opportunities and variations as they arise.
I roughly retouched one of Rachel’s other pictures to indicate a shot
There are benefits to using props with young
children: If the child becomes absorbed in what they are doing they will forget
about the camera, and your pictures will show cute expressions of innocent
concentration – lovely mementos of their childhood.
Simplicity is the
keynote with pictures like these: A clear background and simple props help to
keep the focus of attention on the child. By visualizing the best angles
beforehand you won’t need to waste time walking around and trying to find a good
shot. Instead you can focus all your efforts onto what is really important:
enjoying yourself taking Good Pictures of children enjoying
you are aspiring to develop your photography skills, send me a picture
and I will publish one at the end of my next article with some
constructive feedback. Send one picture only, at a reduced size to email@example.com.Tom teaches photography courses for beginners and advanced. Details of his courses and field trips at: http://www.langford.co.il/courses/