Bluebird Chic ambassador Samantha Hayn of Samantha Hayn Photography shares her best tips for photographing children at play.
Capturing children at play can be quite magical indeed! This is something I personally live for when it comes to photographing my own kids, and my clients.
I believe its super important to capture those wondrous imaginations at play while they are still little, I often think back to the days where life was so carefree, and my biggest worry was riding my bike back home before dark after exploring the world around me.
I’ve learned over the years that truly just sitting back and observing is the best method to truly capturing little ones in their element of exploration.
Often times at photo sessions I will prompt kids to do certain activities that I know will intrigue them such as: picking flowers, looking for butterflies and animals, running, tickling each other, playing tag etc.
Kids have a very short attention span so I’ve learned to really listen to them and do what they want quite frankly, as bad as that sounds happy kids make for some epic photo’s! Kids don’t want to be forced to stand in one spot and smile, they want to run and play and explore.
With that being said I think all expressions and details are just as important to capture as a smile is. Most of my childhood portraits are faceless. Little hands holding onto flowers, hair blowing in the wind, chubby little bruised legs, dirty toes, messy faces, and some of the cutest serious little facial expressions.
When it comes down to the logistics of photographing children at play, back button focus, and a higher shutter speed help a ton with moving subjects! Since kids move rapidly you’ll need to be aware of where the light is in accordance to your subjects. I don’t tell kids to move or go in a certain area, I typically will adjust myself to shoot in a flattering direction for the light.
Some helpful tips for harsh light is to stand off to the side of where the sun is and shoot to where the sun is not directly going into the middle of the frame. If the lighting is super then playing around with direct lighting is also an option. For directly lit subjects I typically increase my shutter speed, and bring down my ISO just to get the exposure of the subject proper. Being able to work with all types of lighting will help tell your story.
It never hurts to practice and try something new!
Hi! My name is Samantha, I’m a Tampa Bay FL lifestyle photographer with a passion for family, maternity and newborn portraiture. When I don’t have my camera in my hand you can find me sipping on some wine, stuffing my face with junk food, and laying in bed watching tv! Visit me at my site: http://samanthahaynphotography.com/