With good news and projects on the way, the LSP team has started the year on full throttle. We are inspired and committed to provide the best training in Photography in London and with the Online Courses launching soon, hopefully all around the world.
We send monthly newsletters with tips and news about photography and LSP. Win Workshop vouchers at London School of Photography by submitting images to the Photo Assignments every month*.
Photo Tip & Assignment #23 – Children Portraits
Photographing children can be a lot of fun: Their spontaneity and personality come across very easily and most of the times they are willing to cooperate with posing, or simply acting naturally in the front of a camera.
If you have your own children (or nephews, nieces, little cousins) you will never run out of opportunities and it is natural for a parent (or uncle, aunt, cousin) to want to photograph the little ones. Bored of traditional kids portraits, this dad photographed his two daughters in an amazingly creative way.
If you don’t have children around you, you will be photographing other people’s kids. This can be off-putting for some, and a territory most would not dare to explore. Teaching photography for over a decade, three questions I often ask my students are:
Do you like Portrait Photography? Do you take Portraits? and: How do you feel photographing people, comfortable or uncomfortable?
The majority of students answer that they feel uncomfortable photographing other people, specially not known to them. When it comes to photographing a stranger’s child, almost all say they feel very uncomfortable.
This is the result of several factors that vary according to customs, beliefs, geography, taboos and perceptions of this act, but in most cases, the real barrier is right inside us, the photographers.
It is common to think that parents would be upset if their children are photographed by a stranger, but no one thinks that parents might be very happy to be given a beautiful portrait of their child too.
It is always good to ask permission, in some countries you can be in serious trouble if you don’t. And there is nothing wrong if the photographer establishes a trust based relationship while doing it.
How do photographers like Steve Mc Curry, the author of the iconic portrait of the Afghan Girl and Sebastiao Salgado, who has photographed children all around the world manage to do that? Do they get permission, do they ask for consent? I believe there are all kinds of situations and each situation demands a certain approach, sensitivity, and common sense.
If you decide to give it a go, here are some tips on how to do it:
As kids generally move non-stop, it is a good idea to set a fast shutter speed to avoid blurred movement. Something over 1/125 will probably ensure that.
Look for neutral backgrounds, free of distractions. Or if the surroundings are part of the portrait idea, make sure you think about composition first, analysing before hand what angle(s) would be best.
Decide the depth of field, or if you would like to have other elements than the child also in focus. You can set a wide aperture (small f/number) for shallow depth of field, if your intention is blurring the background, for example. Or you can set deep depth of field (large f/number), if your intentions is having all elements sharp.
To ensure focus at the correct place, try to focus on the eyes of the child by moving the focusing points around the viewfinder. If the child is still, use SINGLE or ONE SHOT focus mode, to lock the focus on the eye before you shoot. If the child is moving, set CONTINUOUS or AL SERVO focus mode, which follows the subject in motion. In this case, instead of one focus point only, select a larger area of focus in the viewfinder.
Try to be at the same eye level as the child, going on your knees or sitting on the ground, unless a higher (or lower) point of view is intentional for the massage you would like to convey.
Getting the most of the available light, a long shutter speed was used to capture some motion blur as well, and the decorations’ warm tones contrasting with the winter cold make it an interesting image, very appropriate for a season’s Greeting Card.
Tamas wins an Open Date Voucher to attend an Evening Workshop at LSP (worth £295). Workshops included are: Evening Digital Photography Levels 1 and 2, Creative Photography, Career Coaching, Photoshop and Lightroom for Photographers. For a chance to win every month, follow the assignments and upload images to the respective Flickr Gallery.
February’s Assignment #23 is published above and the deadline to submit images is 28 February 2014. The winner will be announced on Newsletter #24 / March.
Good luck to all!
EXHIBITION:UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards
A free exhibition of the UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards 2013 winners and finalists runs until Sunday 16 March 2014 at the Museum of London .
More than sixty photographs are displayed in the museum’s rotunda, allowing visitors to view the images up close, at their leisure.
The UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards recognise outstanding photography from the world of news, royalty, sport, business, fashion and entertainment.
Both the winner’s and finalist’s entries can also be viewed here