The tips that will give you a new approach to photographing kids and will help you get images full of magic of childhood. You will find out how to get inspiration, choose the right location, undestand the natural light, work with props and more.
When I first started to photograph kids I just got the camera and went to any location with hope that the more clicks I got – the more chances I had to get the right shot. Later on, I understood that it not only wasted my time but it also frustrated me …
Now I take a different approach. I first try to plan the shot. I find inspiration in kids’ everyday life. I am observing the kids rather than I take pictures. I try to understand their world, their feelings, what is important for them not for me. I try to find the symbols of their childhood, innocence, anything that can help me to imagine a scenario that will be a part of their life, will be cozy and truly and completely natural. I never ask kids to do something that will be out of the ordinary for them because I know it will look unnatural.
The right location
Once I have found the right scenario I can start to think about location. Sometimes I need to come few times to the same location to find the right lighting. When you shoot outdoors there are a lot of things that affect your shot, light, wind, temperature, season and time of day. You should understand that natural light is never the same. You should know the weather ahead of time.
I usually use parks, rivers or the sea as a location as it is more cozy and natural.
Finding the right light
I love all types of light. All of them can be dreamy and beautiful.
Back light is fantastic light. It gives us the sense of nostalgia and is also very difficult to work with. You should find a compromise between the light and darkness. Sometimes I “throw away” some not important details that can be overexposed or black.
Side light is very beautiful and artistic. It draws every single detail and gives you a textured image that looks very natural.
Diffused light is very soft and calm. You can use it to light your subject on the dark background which gives more depth to your picture.
Understanding the subject
You need to talk to your subject and try to explain your idea beforehand. Try to shoot from a lower position. I usually sit or lay when I shoot the kids so that I can see the world through their eyes. Sometimes I stop talking to them and just wait for the moment that my intuition tells me can happen.
Using clothes and props
Photography talks to us with symbols. Every detail should be a part of the idea. It is very difficult now to find clothes with natural, neutral colors. I buy all the clothes on the internet and I try to make my kids’ wardrobe consist of those types of clothes. I also love to use props as symbols. Try to think about color scheme even before you shoot and choose props and clothes according to this theme. That can save a lot of time in post processing.
Capturing the true moment
As of every other art, the goal of photography is finding the true meaning in everyday life. An advantage of photography over painting is that cameras can capture such fast moment that we can’t even see with our own eyes. The goal of a photographer is to be ready for this moment. I make thousands of clicks and it is sometimes one picture of 500 or even 1000 that I choose.
Sometimes even if I plan the shot there always can be a moment of split second that my eyes couldn’t even see. And every time I enter my card into the card reader I feel excited as before a first date 🙂
Tips by Sveta Butko
My way as a photographer started a year ago. Since my third child was born I left an architect career and started capturing my kids’ everyday life moments. My first camera was Canon 5d Mark II that was my husband’s camera. I wanted to get some pictures of my kids that would be enough beautiful to hang on the wall. Very fast photography became my passion. I can say that all my knowledge in composition, coloristics, drawing and painting helps me in my photography. Now I give one on one and group workshops, online retouch lessons and sell prints on my site www.sveta-butko.com