“This article is intended for photographers with reportage experience who want to improve the quality of their work, as well as some points will be useful for parents who are interested in photographing their babies on their own.
This article is not a step-by-step guide to setting camera settings, flash sync mode, or lens selection. I believe that detailed instructions and advice on the choice of technical settings in the future may lead the photographer to some restrictions in creative development. Here I will describe the photographer’s thinking model adapted for high-quality reportage photography of children’s parties. Remember that the camera is a creative tool for capturing reality, what kind of photo you take depends more on your inner world and attention filters, and not on the camera model or its settings.
Reportage photography in general is one of the most difficult, but at the same time one of the most exciting and significant genres in photography. Today we will talk about a specific direction of commercial reporting – photography of a children’s holiday.
Venues: family restaurants, children’s cafes, country houses, apartment, kids club, family leisure center, etc.
Participants: parents with children, animators, artists, staff of the institution.
The main stages of the event:
– gathering guests, congratulations, giving gifts
– basic animation programs
– performances by artists and various shows (soap bubbles, trained kittens, chemical shows, magic tricks, launching balloons)
– Taking out the birthday cake.
I think you know from experience that in reportage photography there is no time to set up and think about the frame. You must be ready at any moment, and even better – at the right moment!
The main criteria that increase the likelihood of obtaining a high-quality reportage image, which should be taken into account by a professional photographer before pressing the shutter button:
So, photography of children’s holidays and events implies compliance with all these requirements, with the only caveat – everything needs to be done even faster! Think faster, follow what is happening and move around. What kind of photos do you think your client will most likely like: static shots, even if they are made with high quality or live, non-staged moments that convey mood and emotions well?
So, the main provisions describing the model of high-quality photography of children’s parties. All this is relevant if the criteria described above are met.
Try to become a little child yourself, immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the energy of the game, perceive what is happening not from the outside, but from the inside. Let the children feel comfortable and open next to you. Keep an eye on what is happening and anticipate the moments of the appearance of emotions in children, this will work out by itself if you are part of the process.
Constantly move, do not stand in one place, so you increase the likelihood of catching an interesting moment. Be at the center of the action, whether it’s a birthday cake delivery, a bubble show, a magician’s performance or an active animation.
If you know there’s going to be a change of action and you need to capture an important moment, like blowing out the candles on a birthday cake, quickly take a test shot at that location. Then look at the result, if necessary, change the camera settings or the shooting point in order to be ready for the right moment. Once you’re sure about your camera settings, feel free to shoot a burst at the right moment so you can pick one best photo.
When photographing a children’s party, actively interact with the animator or performing artist, as well as the staff of the institution. This will allow you to be as prepared as possible for interesting moments. If you do not know how a particular performance will take place – ask the artist in advance. Specify who and from what place will take out the birthday cake, where the candles will be blown out, whether the lighting will be turned off, etc.
Remember that beautiful pictures from the event are your responsibility. Manage people where needed. If people in the background bother you, politely ask them to move away. The waiters blocked the cake – fix them. Soap bubbles or a cotton candy workshop in the wrong place – ask to move the equipment so that you can get good pictures.
• Photographing children looks better if you shoot from a low angle, be at or below the child’s level.
• At the peak of emotional moments, shoot in short bursts, but wisely, don’t keep the shutter button pressed until the camera buffer fills up.
• To make it interesting to photograph playing children in motion – use a wide angle at close range. At a wide angle, objects at the edges will be slightly stretched, but this distortion is compensated by the unusualness and dynamics of the photo.
Shoot for yourself. Shoot with pleasure. In a word, create!
Of course, don’t forget to take some staged family portraits with your parents.
And most importantly, experiment. Shoot something completely out of the ordinary and try your best to make your shots better than last time!