As a Childrens Photographer I often have people asking photography questions and I am more than happy to help out. The most common question arises when someone suggests a nice background and I move them on towards nice light instead.
Light is the life blood of your photographs, without good light, your portraits will have no life to them. I choose light over background every single time I shoot.
When you are a Childrens Photographer, you need to find good light first, this is paramount, then you can put your subject in the good light and photograph them there. If you find a nice garden or a beautiful rustic wall that you want to photograph your child in front of this is ok, but you need to find the nice light that is there in front of this garden/wall (or behind/beside it).
So how do you find nice light…
Time and experience will help you to ‘see’ light, find highlights, shadows, and know how to predict the science of how light behaves. After a while you will instinctively know where the good light can be found but to get started, hold your arm out in front of you, parallel to the floor and then lift your palm up towards the ceiling (as shown above). Stand in a room and spin your body (feet in the same spot) 360 degrees and watch the light dance and play on your hand. Notice how it moves, how it reveals texture, contrast. Notice the different ways of lighting your hand, back lighting, side lighting. When you see nice light on your hand, this is where the good light is. Put your subject/child in that light and photograph them there.
Also move yourself around in the room you are standing in, have your hand out in front, move closer to the window, then move away from the window, watch how the light changes on your hand. Do you want a stronger contrast between light and shade or a lesser light ratio? Find the light that appeals to you. Head outdoors, spin around, move closer to a building or similar structure and watch how the light changes.
Light is the ‘be all and end all’ of photography. It gives your portraits life. Nice light will make or break your shot and it is there, free of charge and readily available for all of us to take advantage of.
Another two questions… where do I get my gear from and what would I spend money on first, a good camera body or a good lens.
A good lens is the way to go, we all know photography equipment, especially the good stuff is very expensive. I am currently shooting with two Nikon D3 bodies and my 50mm lens is my workhorse, I also regularly work with my 24-70 and an 85mm. Primes are the sharpest where zooms while flexible will have a ‘sweet spot’ for sharpness and some parts of the lens can sometimes appear a little ‘soft’.
You can have a wonderfully expensive body but if you put a cheap piece of glass in front of it you won’t get the results that the camera is capable of… It is like looking out of a dirty window. You need good glass. You can have a camera body that is a few years old, doesn’t have too many bells and whistles but if you put a nice piece of glass (lens) in front of it you will get beautiful photographs. It is a balance, though I would put glass over a body any day of the week.
These are your key points to consider as a Childrens Photographer, hopefully my information was helpful.
Oh, for those that don’t know, I am a die hard Nikon fan for just over 20 years now 🙂
I am based in Camden, Macarthur.
For more information on booking your own Childrens Photographer session please contact me