Above: Set up props before your shoot. (Tadah! Pattern - Long-sleeve Seaside playsuit)
1. Be prepared
My first tip for today is - be prepared. Have all your props ready to go before you add the child to the photo. My use of props have several purposes - to get my girls attention or to distract them. Get all your camera settings adjusted before starting too. As mentioned last week, I don't shoot on automatic settings on my DSLR. Learning your camera settings is the most important factor for successful product photos. Selecting the correct white balance can make a huge difference.
After taking the first image, check it to make sure the settings are correct and from then on don't play back your images unless the light or some other environmental factor changes. Children lose patience quickly and you may miss an amazing photo opportunity. Another important tip is to take the images at your children's level, you will also capture a better shot of the outfit from this aspect too.
Above: Use your child's natural smile for best results (Tadah! pattern - nappy cover. Suspenders by Boo Designs)
2. Let your kids be natural
Often in my photos my girls are always laughing or smiling naturally. I love to be silly to make sure they enjoy themselves. I never want them to feel like having their picture taken is a chore. Barking orders to pose does not result in good photos. Following them around whilst they play has resulted in the most natural and likeable photos I have taken. I really feel it is so important not to make them do anything they don't want to and don't get upset if the photoshoot doesn't go to your plan. In the long run it will make them harder to photograph and less likely to want to take photos for you next time.
Above: Example of using a wide aperture to create the shallow depth of field. (Tadah! pattern – Pleatie shortsuit)
3. Use a wide aperture
I use a DSLR camera with a prime lens (50mm f/1.4) which is great for portraiture. When photographing children I think the most important camera setting is aperture. A wide aperture between f/2.8 to f/4.5 gives a soft shallow depth of field. This depth of field brings focus to the child while allowing more light to come in through the lens. It allows the background to blur a little too, which means focus is on the subject rather than the background. It is also important to choose your ISO based on lighting conditions (it should be as low as possible).
Above: Example of using continuous mode to get the best image (Tadah! pattern – Library blouse and Tulip skirt)
Your shutter speed needs to be as fast as possible to minimise blurring of those fast moving children! Shooting on continuous mode can also be quite helpful for getting good shots. Firing off several shots in succession means you will be more likely to capture a fabulous photo. Make sure you have plenty of room on your memory card, nothing worse then running out of space mid-shoot (trust me, don't ask me how I know ! Oh and another tip, make sure your camera battery has plenty of charge too LOL)
Changing your position around the photo subject is also a great way to get good shots of every aspect of the product you are trying to demonstrate. It is definitely easier for you to move around than asking your child model to move for you. I think my best product photos are where my girls are not looking directly at the camera.
As a final note, it has to be said that image editing also plays an important role in the quality of the resulting images!
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