I had the fun and awesome privilege of visiting Casa Hogar Orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico last weekend! One of my main purposes for being there was to take pictures of the children to use for websites, calendars and other fundraising projects. Because it was such an amazing day of shooting, I wanted to share some of the pictures and a few things I’ve learned over the years about how to take good pictures of children.
1. Use a zoom lens.
90% of the time while I was at the orphanage last weekend, I was shooting with my 70-200mm lens. Why? Because it allowed me to isolate the child, get rid of the many background distractions, and bring all the attention to one subject.
2. Make Sure They are Looking at the Camera
I’ve learned that the most dynamic images of people are those in which the person is looking at the camera. This typically doesn’t happen by itself. Learn a few key phrases in the language of the country you’re photographing in—even learn the names of the children if you can—and ask them to look at the camera when you are ready to take the shot. I usually take three or four images at different focal lengths, making sure each one of them is perfectly focused, and then give the subject a smile and a thumbs up to let them know that I got the picture that I want.
3. Capture Emotions
Children are often not afraid to show their emotions in from of the camera. Don’t be intrusive, but don’t forget to look for extreme emotions that children will more readily display. It makes for dramatic images, and evokes emotion in the viewer.
4. Find Creative Angles
They’re children! Capture them doing what children love to do! It makes for fun pictures and makes your pictures more interesting to look at. Primary colors of saturated red, yellow, and blue are also good to include in images of children.
For more pictures of my trip to the orphanage, view my Picasa Web album.