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What Challenges are Unique to Children's Photography?

Children have difficulty standing still for a long period of time.
Photographers who work with toddlers need to be patient as young children can be difficult to work with.
Newborn photographers have to come up with creative ways to capture a baby's personality.
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  • Written By: Margo Upson
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2014
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Children's photography presents many unique challenges. These challenges multiply based on how young a child is. The younger the child is, the greater the challenge. A professional photographer needs to be able to meet these challenges and still come up with great shots.

Children have a difficulty staying still for any length of time. This is one of the biggest challenges of children's photography. A photographer has to be able to coax the child to sit still. This may be done through giving the child a toy prop to play with, through distracting them with conversation, or by having the child's parents help out. Using a shorter exposure time may help to prevent blurring when taking the pictures.

It can be difficult to convince a child to smile on cue. This is especially true of younger children. Many kids come to a photography shoot in a bad mood after the stress of getting ready for the shoot. Getting these children to smile, to sit correctly, or to turn their head in a particular way can be next to impossible for amateur photographers. A related challenge is capturing emotion on a child's face. Getting an emotion, whether it is happiness, sadness, thoughtfulness, or even anger, with just the right shot can make for an amazing portrait. Knowing when to click the shutter, or which angle to use, makes all the difference in these shots.

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Some of the best pictures of children happen outside of the studio. Doing photography shoots while children are in their homes, or playing outdoors, can lead to fantastic photographs. The challenge here is in getting the children into poses for the shots when they would rather be playing. Most photographers have more luck with candid shots over traditional portrait poses when photographing children.

Younger children present some of the biggest challenges to child photographers. Infants may be in a fussy mood, or unwilling to pose in the way the photographer wants. Toddlers may not understand what is going on, and may be afraid of the bright lights and strange equipment. The opposite may also be true; the child may want to play with the equipment, making it difficult to get any shots. Even in a natural setting, some children would rather chase after the camera than play with toys.

The challenges of children's photography can make some days very frustrating for photographers. Knowing how interact with children can make the job much easier. A skilled child photographer knows to get down to the child's level to shoot, and to be prepared to move a lot to get the best shots. Being able to work with the child's natural inclinations can make for a much more enjoyable shoot for everyone involved. Children's photography can be challenging, but the rewards – getting that perfect shot – are huge.

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