How To Shoot Kids And Animals

I don’t have any baby shots but Sandy Puc sure does.

SamShooting2I’ve been to Sandy’s Babies and Bellies workshop and if you’re at all interested in learning how to shoot babies and soon-to-be-moms I highly recommend Sandy’s workshops which do occasionally come to Canada. (Here’s a link to Sandy’s CreativeLive.com workshop.)

(Here’s a link to her book available from Amazon.)

One of the main things I learned was to shoot kids at their level. All too often we shoot kids from our own level with the camera looking down at the child. This makes the poor kid’s head look enormous (whatever is closest to the camera appears larger) with a small body in the background.734

If you’re shooting babies put them on a bed or a couch  (take care they don’t roll or squirm off) and shoot from their eye level. Your baby photos will be so much better.

That’s one of Sandy’s images in the photo and it’s wonderful isn’t it?

Based on the catch-lights in the baby’s eyes this might have been shot using window light coming from the right of the image. You could shoot just as good a shot as this IF (there’s always an “IF”) you keep the background simple.

If you’re shooting with a DSLR, use a “fast” lens which is one that opens wide creating a shot like this with a small depth of field which emphasizes the child and separates baby from the blurry background). A 50mm f/1.8 for most DSLRs (see photo below) is cheap ($150), fast and works great. It should be your second lens after your kit lens which came with your camera.

Same with kids. Get down on the floor with them and shoot at their eye level. The kids will think it’s a hoot that you’re down there with them and after a few shots will ignore the camera.

Same thing with pets. Go online and look at some pet photographers’s sites and you’ll see they tend to shoot eye-to-eye with the animal.nikon-f-50mm-f1_8d

One thing babies and animals have in common is they have a very limited attention span. Shooting babies just after feeding helps and getting animals after a big workout helps calm them down.

BTW I think animal photography is one of the hardest things to do and babies come a close second.

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