I love working with flash rather than studio lights as I think it is so much more portable… but you can create the studio high key look really well… but there are some tricks to getting the eye contact that you need to make the image work.
This little chap was playing “peek a boo” in the basket – it was great for holding him in place, but it also gave him somewhere to hide… so to get the image and the eye contact you have to offer something more than just taking photos, you have to be more than the camera – you have to become an adult that is someone they want to get to know, someone who is fun and whom they want to make time for… and have an element of surprise… this little chap did not believe me when I told him that my camera squeaked if he looked at it … and it did everytime!
Brother two, the clothing choice – one t-shirts against a white background meant that it was important not to blow the highlights… the similarity in clothing choice meant that the boys looked very similar but if you waited their personalty shown through … this speed demon is sat on a toy car racing round the studio space … and when challenge he can stop on a specific spot – where the lighting is perfect – for just a moment so I can capture my shot before he moves on… his dungarees have relaxed though, and his smile is genuine giving a much more different look.
Oldest brother and we had a face pulling competition, I gave him a scenario to think about – he gave it some serious thought before he pulled that face… this is the face that means he had “eaten all the biscuits but blamed his brothers”.
There are lots of things you can do to make a shoot with children easier and my key points would be:
- Find out what you can before hand so you are prepared – allergies, ages, likes, dislikes, any reasons they don’t like flash, what they want to see…
- Put your camera down, talk to the children, get to know them, be fun
- Take photos, make eye contact – talk, praise, reward, smile lots and stop before they are bored
- Change things, introduce new ideas, adapt ideas to make them work for the session… follow their play, their imagination and develop it to suit the space
- Talk to mum, share stories, observations and ideas….
These images were taken at an Old Bakery session, these kids were amazing – it was a late evening session and there were lots of photographers taking photos … and it was interesting watching and observing the other photographers… to really make it as a family or child photographer you have to put the children above your images – you have to make sure the equipment is safe, it won’t hurt them, the resources you use are child friendly, you have to add value, an element of surprise and to really nail that shot you have to have in a relatively short space of time have built a relationship with the child so that they want to work with you…
More images from the evening are here: http://www.renoufdesign.co.uk/Photos/Photo-Galleries/Robberts/ – most of them are high key images, but there are a few low key shot where I followed them around the room and used my portable flash instead.