The children category on ExposedPlanet.com is one of the most popular ones on the Photo-blog. Likely because you can recognize a part of your own (lost?) youth in the faces of the kids.
Interestingly enough, it does not seem to matter where or under what circumstances the kids live. They all have the same desires to play and be happy and usually use whatever is available to them to fulfill these.
Some of the children’s portraits are in the most-commented top list and often I have been asked how I made these portraits. Not technically -that info is available as well, for every photo, just click the ‘Exif’ link to show lens, camera, aperture, speed etc.-, but practically: what makes a photo of a child more than a crappy family snapshot?
Here are some things I learned the past years, illustrated with images from kids I met in Tibet & Nepal:
(0) Know your camera, lenses, light etc etc etc etc. I am not giving this a number as it is a basis without which you will never be able to make any nice pictures of any subject (see also the post about 10 Travel Photography tips). So I see this as a given and will only now start counting
This is maybe the most important aspect of shooting images of children. With this I mean physically sit, kneel or even lie down, so you can look them in the eyes without looking down on them.
First of all when shooting from above, you usually get a distorted view, often weird looks as the child is looking up -or looking down if he is not interested- and boring backgrounds: mostly the floor or whatever you are standing on.
When you lower yourself, you’ll find yourself in their world and see what they see. The backgrounds will be more interesting and children will be more at ease as well.
Treat them as a full-blown subject, not just some kid you look down upon. (more…)