Have you been interested in purchasing The Posing Playbook… for Kids Who Don’t Do Posing? Well for the next few days, until July 4, the Playbook is available as part of The Big Deal 2016 Photography Bundle. For only $99, the Playbook joins presets, files, and training from some of the best photo educators out there. The information in the bundle will help to kickstart a new photography business or bring your existing business to a new level.
I wanted to give you a preview of how the Posing Playbook can you help think of photographing children differently and give you some tips on how to pose children in a way that doesn’t seem like posing:
In photography, the goal of a pose is to flatter the subject. I think of it a bit differently when it comes to children, though. For me, the objective of a pose with kids is to be able to show not just what they look like, but who they are. That means showing off their personality, through movement, expression and connection, and photographing a portrait that will be loved by those who love that child. One of the best tricks I suggest when it comes to photographing children? Posing them without ever letting know.
Everything is connected to everything.
When it comes to posing body parts, remember one, main essential rule: Quite literally, when it comes to body parts, everything is connected to everything, so when you shift the shoulders, you shift the neck and the spine and the arms – which means you can shift one body part in a playful way to achieve the end result you are seeking. With kids, I playfully ask them to lean one way – into the wind, for instance, or into a sibling – and then I simply shift my angle of shooting to lock in a more dynamic body positioning, so that I achieve the same result as if I had “posed” them by adjusting their shoulders.
Address parts of your subject as if they are separate from your subject.
When photographing children, there is often much silliness involved, which is one of the major reasons I am so drawn to this genre. In traditional posing, there is a great deal of attention paid to the placement of the hands. The hands show a lot about how the subject is feeling, so it’s helpful to have them relaxed, with fingers slightly separated. With children, they are often fully engaged in whatever they are doing. It is not uncommon to have a child positioned in a great pose, unbeknownst to them, but still have their hands balled up as tightly as possible. When I see that, I will often ask kids to address their hands – like, “Can you please ask your left hand to make all the fingers go to sleep?” Most kids will play along, at least for a little while, and I always make sure to photograph the result I was looking for as soon as I see it. (Mostly because many kids will figure out what you’re doing and immediately re-clench their hands since they now know that’s what you don’t want).
Stay Connected with Your Subjects for The Entirety of The Shoot
I make a point to shoot with the camera held away from my body rather often, so that I can keep the interaction going between me and my subject as much as possible. I have noticed that sometimes when you move a big black box in front of your face, you can effectively shut communication down – especially with younger kids. Often I will pull the camera right back to my eye when I see something I want to capture, but I will also photograph my subject with the camera held away from my face. They may be looking directly at me, but the look of the final shot can appear like the subject is looking off a bit, which can result in some dreamy, or quirky, expressions. Photographing with a wide angle lens, or between 24mm and 35mm focal length, is ideal for this technique, but you can still pull off a great look with longer lenses, too. It just may take you a bit more practice to lock in a strong focus and composition.
Focus on Expression
Every single time I’m about to take a photograph, I look at the entire frame I am going to shoot, and I immediately consider what I can eliminate. The more I can remove from the shot, or the more I can declutter an image, the more striking the subject’s expression will be because viewers tend to hone right in on what matters. If that means I am physically moving things out of the way, changing the angle from which I’m shooting, or being sure to finish an image a bit more in post, then so be it. I am of the mindset that if it makes for a cleaner look and feel, I’m drawn to that. An uncluttered frame makes a big difference in how strong images can appear and how much impact it can have when it comes to focusing just on a subject’s expression.
Interested in learning more? Visit The Big Deal bundle here. But be sure to do it soon, as this package is only available for a limited time!