Sunday, February 15, 2009

Q&A week 6

I know, I know, I am just getting later in the week! Oops. I will try to have week 7 up by Weds as I had originally planned. Not that I suppose anyone is sitting impatiently waiting for these ;)

So, my question this week comes from my friend Nicole, who is also a photographer up in the Spring Hill/Brooksville area.

I admire how you can get kids to cooperate while you are snapping away. What are your secrets to getting a toddler to pay attention long enough to snap a perfect, sharp, amazing picture? I am not sure it's so much of a secret as much as just a general understanding of kids. From an early age, I was always described as a "little mommy", often taking younger kids under my wing. I love kids. I love their sense of humor and energy for life. I feel like in general, I can relate to most children better than I can an adult. I love studying what makes them tick, and what they respond to. That being said, there are a couple of tricks I don't mind sharing.
1. Get down on their level, right away. Have you ever thought what a strange adult must seem like to a child? We tower over them. Basically, they have spent most of their little life looking at our knees! It's amazing how differently they'll react to you if you greet them on their level right away. Suddenly, you have a face! And you've acknowledged that you think they matter. That's huge, even to a baby.
2. Let them come to you. Many times I am sure it seems like I am not DOING anything. I will hover on the outskirts for a while, just letting a child play and get used to my presence. This allows me to get some candid shots, and it lets them get used to the strange lady with the black box in front of her face! Eventually, they all warm up, or at least let their curiosity get the best of them, and they will come interact with me. Even the shy ones.
3. Know your camera. This is crucial for a sharp, clear shot. Shooting on auto, even with a good camera, is not going to produce consistant images because the camera has control, and it can't know what you need it to do all the time. I know my camera like my best friend. I know how to get what I want out of it in every situation, I am in control and that makes a huge difference!
4. Find Nemo. This trick is my favorite. I ask older toddlers and preschoolers if they can find Nemo in my camera. Never fails that they stop for a nanosecond and gaze right into the lens! That's how I got some of my favorite shots of all time, like these.


Nicole's question had a second part, but I will save that for next week since I have written a small novel already and it's bedtime here in the Vickers house. My husband needs reinforcements!
Here's my self portrait for this week. Nothing fancy, but I cut my hair a little shorter so I thought I'd show it off.

SP 6/52


Nicole said...

Thank you so much for answering my question. It's always nice to hear different photographers tricks. Those pictures are my favs too. Especially the second one. She really looks like she is looking for nemo. =) Thank you again

stacey said...

You are so good with kids, just amazing. I don't remember seeing that first picture before, although I'm sure I did. I love it!