Little boys are rough n' tumble, roly-poly, active fun. Ask them to stop for a picture and they'll grimace, drool and show off. Here's my tips to capture them at their most natural.
I am blessed to have two, healthy, young, strong sons. They are both affectionate, happy children. They are completely different personalities. One is a scientist, an engineer. He is happiest building, be it with expensive European construction toys, or cardboard boxes and glue. He is also an artist, he plays with paint, pencils and can draw lifelike but cartoony images.
The other is creative in his play, in his eyes his action figures are fighting life and death battles – toy plastic lightsabers clash and flash. He is rambunctious and roly-poly always jumping on beds or hiding in corners I cannot fit in.
This inquisitive inventiveness, this pure raw innocent energy leaves an astonishingly bright imprint on cellulose, silver and gelatin.
Those that know me, or a quick glance through my Lomo-home proves that the majority of my photography revolves around their life. I’ve picked up a few tips throughout our continuing journey, many happened naturally. Here is a summary of how I capture the kids.
Try to get them to ignore you
Little boys are not natural smilers. They may smile all the time, but when asked to the resulting toothless grimacing looks terrible. I try to hang around them until they are used to me being there and then start snapping. The resulting candid shots are almost always more exciting than posed shots.
Get down low
Get down to their level, then get even lower. Children are small but can look like giants in the frame if you lie under them when shooting…
Now get up again
…but sometimes they should look small too, you want to remember how cute they were when they were little.
Eyes are the windows to the soul
Childrens eyes are so bright, so glossy that focusing on them can produce wonderful shots. If you are using an SLR use a really big aperture, f2 – f1.8 and make sure you focus right on the pupils. Their personalities come right through.
Every child is a special gift, if you have a large family they don’t always all have to be in the picture – grab one at a time. And to really bring them out in the picture put on a really bright t-shirt against a dull background (or vice versa). Out they pop!
One thing to remember, the world is a very different place to what it was 30 – 40 years ago. Parents are very protective people, scared for their kids in a world where the internet can be as dark as it can be bright. Never take pictures of other peoples children where they could be recognized from the picture without asking permission. Especially if you want to put that picture on the internet. Let them know why you are doing it, offer them a copy of the picture if they say yes.