From time to time I get general solicitations from various photography-related groups. Usually it's to sign up for a mailing list, join a club, or buy something. Recently I was contacted by the Society of Professional Mexican Photographers asking if I could write an article on children photography. After some research found out that the SMFP (they spell photo with an "f"- much easier) seems to be the Mexican version of the Professional Photographers of America- an organization that I am a member of. Initially I was skeptical due to the broken English email, but I realized that the vast majority of my blog posts are in broken English as well. I was happy to write the article and send a few pictures along and I just found out it was put in their online newsletter with the potential for me to have additional opportunities for their Latin American distributed print magazine. I don't fancy myself a writer (see blog entries 1 through 156), but it helped that the limit was 300 words for the article. Once I was rolling on it, the only hard part was keeping it to 300 words! I realize I should do more of these when the opportunity presents itself. You may ask why a Mexican magazine? My answer is that I have no idea... but I'm not going to complain if it furthers my international exposure. :) Here is the article as it appears on their website. I wrote the article in
American English and they translated it to Mexican Spanish. The full English version is further below. Enjoy!
Here is the content in the original language. I tried to avoid $100 words so it would translate a little better. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. :)
"Taking photos of children can be a challenge at times. We’ve all been there when a mother has asked us to photograph an unhappy, shy, or otherwise difficult child. Here are some ways to get the photos you want while helping the child become more comfortable with you and your camera.
The first thing I concentrate on is finding a good location. If the child is very young, it can often be wise to take photos at the family’s home. This way, the child will be more comfortable with his or her surroundings and doesn’t have to venture far to be comfortable. Generally, I like to shoot outdoors with children (except for newborn babies). It gives them the freedom to wander around and explore. Your job is to follow them (on your hands and knees if you have to!) to catch that perfect smile and natural pose. The idea is to let them have fun on their own and you catch the moments that happen. There will be many disappointing photos, but the good ones are GREAT because they are natural- no posing!
Always make sure to tell the parents to dress the child in comfortable clothes and no busy patterns. Try to avoid the color white if you think the child could get dirty. Ask the parents to bring along rewards for the children in case they get upset. That way you can say, “if you stand over here, mommy will give you some juice!” Just be sure that these rewards (candy, snacks, juice) aren’t messy and could discolor teeth or get on clothes.
I generally shoot in natural light with no flash. This allows the child and I to move around a backyard or playground and give them the space they need. If the child is being good and will sit and pose, I’ll have the parent hold a reflector to supplement lighting if necessary. I typically shoot with the Canon 5d Mark II and a variety of lenses. My most used lens is the 24-70mm because it will give me a good range of close up shots for faces and smiles as well as wide angle to get playground items or helping family members. Depending on the lighting, I generally shoot between ISO 100 and 400. The idea is to shoot what will give you a high enough shutter speed in case the child is fast moving!
The bottom line is to get outside, play around, and have fun! You’re bound to get good photos if you and your subject are having fun!"