Photographing toddlers

  • April 17, 2018 at 8:54 pm #1865
    Emma GibsonEmma Gibson
    Participant
    Points: 175

    I’m photographing a 12 month old boy and a 13 month old girl in a couple of weeks. They are close friends and the parents have asked for shots of the children interacting (no parents in the images). One is toddling, but the other isn’t walking yet. Any tips as to the kind of shots I should try to get that will be winners? It’s a tricky age for me and two at the same time is going to be a challenge!

    April 17, 2018 at 8:59 pm #2259
    AvatarPaul
    Keymaster
    Points: 15,479

    Well, it might not be a walk in the park! Given one isn’t walking, start by sitting one of them in good light where you can envisage them either sitting together or one of them maybe bending to hug the other. If they’re good friends (and with a little luck) you might find they naturally sit together naturally. Look for locations where there isn’t much room for them to escape! A step on a path works quite well – they can only go forward or backwards rather than to the sides.


    Paul Wilkinson FMPA FBIPP FSWPP

    Be kind to yourself!

    April 19, 2018 at 9:10 pm #2261
    Rachel ThornhillRachel Thornhill
    Participant
    Points: 597

    Hey Emma!
    I’m guessing that even if they’re not walking, they can stand and would be cruising… did you say you were shooting indoors or outdoors?
    Indoors I’ve propped a 12m (and a dog) up and shot from behind a sofa, in their cot and also played a game of peekaboo in an empty bath, although you could also use chairs, footstools etc. Make sure a parent stays near though, just in case! I’m a fan of having a couple of props too which can really help keep a little one’s attention if they start to zone out, and having something to get their attention is doubly important with two at that age, so perhaps it could be building blocks, trains or even a tea set between them, but something that they can both interact with both independently and together. Outdoors, you have your seated option, and perhaps there is a low wall they can hold onto or against, maybe there is one of those little Tikes cars that one could walk behind and the other sit in, or maybe play a game with them that involves you all lying on your tummies – they can be next to each other and you can all have a giggle while you lye on yours too to take the photo. It sounds like it’s going to be lots of fun, let us know how you get on!

    In a world where we can be anything, be kind ?

    April 23, 2018 at 6:54 pm #2263
    Emma GibsonEmma Gibson
    Participant
    Points: 175

    Thanks! I’m shooting outside in a park, so i’m going to need to look for some ‘natural’ props like threes/walls they can balance on (good advice, thanks Rachel!)

    I’ll also bring a blanket and ask the families to bring some toys – love the idea of something they can interact with together too, such as the building blocks.

    I’m sure i’ll have some feedback afterwards, so will let you know how it goes!

    May 16, 2018 at 12:03 am #2265
    Rachel ThornhillRachel Thornhill
    Participant
    Points: 597

    Hey Emma,

    How did your shoot go?

    Rachel

    In a world where we can be anything, be kind ?

    May 16, 2018 at 5:29 pm #2267
    Emma GibsonEmma Gibson
    Participant
    Points: 175

    Thanks for asking Rachel – it’s actually this weekend, so i’ll let you know next week!

    Based on the feedback that you’ve all kindly provided, I’ve scouted a fab spot near where I live, which has steps and a lovely winding path, as well as benches, trees and lovely grassy spots, so hopefully that bodes well! I also loved your props ideas, so they’re going to bring those too…

    Thanks again – any other thoughts, let me know (i’d love to hear!) and i’ll update next week.

    May 25, 2018 at 9:35 pm #2269
    Rachel ThornhillRachel Thornhill
    Participant
    Points: 597

    Oooh, how did you get on?
    Rachel x

    In a world where we can be anything, be kind ?

    May 26, 2018 at 10:12 am #2271
    Emma GibsonEmma Gibson
    Participant
    Points: 175

    Thanks Rachel – I learnt a lot from the shoot… two very young children is hard!
    I’m pleased with my individual shots of each of them, and they asked me to take a few images of their dog too, which I was a bit apprehensive about, but have actually come out pretty well, but the shots of the two of them together were more challenging!

    I then went down early on the day as the light was very bright and I wanted to make sure the spots I planned to shoot in still worked (on the whole they did). Thanks for the steps on a path and bench suggestions – they all worked well!

    I realised when the families arrived that I wasn’t sure what to shoot first, individuals or together. The children were both awake and alert, so we did some together and then I did individuals before moving to a different spot, but I’m not sure whether I’d have been better to do all the together shots first? Any thoughts?

    I also switched between my 35mm f2 (50mm equivalent) and my 50-140 (70-200mm equivalent), which wasted valuable time. I should have stuck with the long lens throughout I think. Again, love to hear what you do?

    I should have packed some props! I asked them to bring some toys, but they didn’t, so it was hard to keep them engaged. If i’d had a few bits in my bag, I could have remedied this.

    Lastly, their dog managed to cut his paw so a first aid kit – as suggested in an earlier post would have been useful!

    In post production, there are two bits I really need to learn… Firstly, head swaps as I could have created a better picture by doing this, and secondly colours. The grass/general surroundings were very green and so I’ve been working with hue, saturation and luminescence in LR, but there’s more I need to learn that will take the images from good to great! Paul – if you’re reading this, this is something I would love to learn more about.

    Thanks again for all the tips!

    May 26, 2018 at 10:54 pm #2273
    AvatarMatt Brown
    Moderator
    Points: 24

    Hey Emma

    Really glad to see you didn’t back down and took on the job. You learn so much more from doing and making mistakes (for example switching between lens’). Also when you make mistakes you learn how to correct them if things can’t be helped or just happen and you also learn how to avoid them in the future or at least minimise the impact they can have, like the first aid kit Rachel suggested. Why don’t you upload one of your images for Paul to critique if you would like him to provide some feedback on your work.

    Keep up the great work!

    June 5, 2018 at 2:30 pm #2275
    Rachel ThornhillRachel Thornhill
    Participant
    Points: 597

    Hey Emma,

    Sounds like you shoot went very well!

    Regarding what to do first, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer; but I think I’d be inclined to start with the kids if they’re alert and interested, and then add the parents once you’ve build up the rapport with the little ones. On a recent family session I did with a 7m old, I wish I’d done the baby first, as we started with the family groups and by the time we did his shots he’d had a feed and so was sleepy – and not in a good way ? Saying that though, with this session I think the group ones were the most important as they’re probably the ones they’ll choose to go up on their wall, and he was awake and alert for that!

    Lens wise I tend to stick with my 70-200 2.8, sometimes swopping to 24-70 2.8 for wide shots, although thinking of adding another lens to my kit (I don’t have backups yet!) Probably 85 or 105 prime, although it might take me a while to get used to moving around more…

    Re green surroundings, I feel your pain! Am currently editing the session I mentioned above and there is so much green! I did use an Expodisc at the time (which sets the colour balance on the shoot so skin tones should look correct) but think I might be turning a few black and white to break it up a bit.

    However I need to calibrate my monitor as I’m not convinced it’s accurate (test prints just back from the lab aren’t quite the same colour) so I’m a bit loathed to do any more colour correction until I know that the monitor is showing the right colours! Or am I just procrastinating?!

    How are you getting on with your edits?

    Happy Tuesday,

    Rachel x

    In a world where we can be anything, be kind ?

    July 1, 2018 at 8:37 pm #2277
    AvatarIan Bennett
    Participant
    Points: 111

    Really interesting thread – haven’t shot little ones yet but some of the practical hints and experiences here are so useful. Thanks all for sharing ?

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