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02-04-2016, 03:00 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by LoneWolf Quote
Any advice would be welcome on how to photograph the same. Their dad will not let me put their heads in Victorian head clamps which were once used for sitters when exposures were in seconds or nail them to the floor (he says the latter would mark the wooden floor besides which it is probably against the law, nailing that is). Pre-focusing does not help as in the time the mirror lifts, the picture is gone. Bribary or begging or distraction only works when they are in the mood which is very seldom. I would try techniques used in active pet photography but I have no pet to practice on, besides which I do not know any (techniques) anyway. I am at a loss. I have K3 and a K50. Out of interest would a mirrorless system camera with a quality electronic view finder and with no mirror lag be better? In desperation, Lone Wolf
Knowing the way the child acts/ plays will help. Being there ready just before action happens does help too... much more than an instant shutter etc.. None of these photos below were arranged or set up in any way. My son was playing freely when I went out with him and my Super Tak 50 1.4 (8-element) on a Pentax K-01 (so not a demon of speed) .. all manually focused , usually pre-, but sometime on the fly , the cinematic style following the action with focus and then shooting when the frame/ pose etc.. is about to be best. My advice is don't expect miracles and set some realistic goals at first then work your way up, spend few months practising with dedication and passion and I guarantee your keeper's rare will be sky-rocketing !

02-04-2016, 03:49 PM - 1 Like   #17
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Here's one with an on-camera Pentax AF-540FGZ fitted with a Gary Fong Lightsphere, pointed up and slightly forwards (to give the catchlights) .... the main light comes from the bounce off the ceiling .....

Plus another with OCF (x2), one main light from the left in a softbox, and the 'hair-kicker' (!!) coming from behind off to the right ..... no need to worry about shake with either of these, both shot at or near the X-sync.

Last edited by mcgregni; 06-18-2017 at 07:09 PM.
02-04-2016, 04:25 PM   #18

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What I do for portraits:

- Bounce flash in the roof. Then I can use smaller apertures (for more DoF) and lower ISOs.
- Catch their attention. They want to look at eyes, not a dead object (camera). Sometimes someone can help with making funny faces behind me, or I could do that myself and look over the camera very often so they don't loose the attention to me. Looking out from alternating sides of the camera keeps their eyes at the lens in the right moment.

I actually planned two ways of keeping their eyes on the lens. One is to use a semi translucent mirror angled 45 degrees in front of the camera and show some funny videos from youtube on a phone. The phone image will be reflected in the mirror towards the kids. This might be quite passive and not the best way of getting a natural look. Another and easier way might be to cut out a funny cartoon in large cardboard, cutting out one eye of the cartoon and put my lens through there. Music also lifts the mood.

For other situations then portraits I just keep the camera around enough that they wont pose and use flash bouncing inside.
02-04-2016, 06:21 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Quartermaster James Quote
St. Joseph's Valium for Children?
NyQuil is 50 proof!

Nothing like a drunk four year old!

02-04-2016, 07:39 PM   #20
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Great pictures guys!

Children can be very challenging (not only for taking pictures, but that's another story!). For more formal shots, one thing that I found to work is to tell them that I will let them take my picture if they let me take a few shots. Obviously, this suppose that you agree to let them manipulate your camera, but don't worry, Pentax are tough! Or you can bring a P&S...
02-05-2016, 03:40 AM   #21
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Thanks to everyone who has replied. Some good advice there.


Lone Wolf
02-05-2016, 04:51 AM   #22
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I always found the best help if I wanted a more traditional portrait look was a goofy assistant. In my case, my boys were 8.5 and 11 years older than my girls, and one of them would stand behind me and the camera being ridiculous. I've used this with grandkids and nieces and nephews, too. If you have the location and light handled, a goofball behind you will get them looking "at" the camera. You can see they're not quite looking at me here, but the grandmas did not care a whit.

02-05-2016, 05:00 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by RubyT Quote
You can see they're not quite looking at me here, but the grandmas did not care a whit.
At that age, that's good enough. It's the interaction that makes that shot in any case, not the exact place on which their eyes have lit.

02-05-2016, 02:52 PM - 3 Likes   #24
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Duct tape.
05-28-2016, 04:51 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnyates Quote
If you are being paid to produce this portrait, you are not charging enough. Raise your rate to the point where the kid's lack of cooperation is no longer your problem, but Dad's. It's amazing what a significant financial investment will do to inspire enthusiasm for the successful outcome of a portrait session.

I tend to shoot candids of my 3 year old. That way I don't have expectations, and I get more natural expressions. I have the camera on me 24/7 (I do Singles In and probably about 70% if not more are always of wolfiepup).

She's had a camera in her face since she was born so she's pretty immune to it. These days she wants to see the results immediately and I constantly get requests for me to take her photo. I think I have created a monster...

I agree with what manntax said:
QuoteOriginally posted by manntax Quote
Knowing the way the child acts/ plays will help. Being there ready just before action happens does help too
I never really 'set up' a shot per se. I just let her do her thing, and I just sit in the background, camera in hand, ready to go. Sometimes I'll be busy, look up, notice it's worth a shot, and try to sneak up on her and get it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

(Pentax F 35-80, k-s2)

She half expects me to have my camera on me these days. And I think in some form it's a kind of one-on-one attention from mummy that she appreciates, that she doesn't get otherwise.
I find it helps to keep an eye on what they are interested in.

Overall, if they are happy and engaged, it makes for a more co-operative subject. And if nothing else you'll get some great facial expressions.

In the beginning it was always a love of the the slippery dip. I'd wait till she came out the end of the slippery dip - happy face guaranteed.

(Industar 61LZ 50/2.8, k100d)

wolfiepup and the slide
by Wolfie Girl, on Flickr (Tamron 60-300, k-01)

the laughing girl
by Wolfie Girl, on Flickr

These days she'll ham it up. She loves pretending to be a tiger/dinosaur/dragon and I tend to encourage her. I ask her, "can you rraar like a tiger??" and have the camera ready..

by Wolfie Girl, on Flickr (Tamron adaptall 35-80 2.8/3.5, k-s2)

wolfiepup shows her spots
by Wolfie Girl, on Flickr (Takumar 135/3.5, ks-2)

Or sometimes I just hold the camera up and frame and ask her "what are you doing, darling?" and she'll look up as I press. Talking to them as you shoot can help you capture the best expressions.

(Pentax F 35-105, 4-5.6, k-s2)

In this instance she was actually singing a song, and she's right at 'ta-daaa!'

Let the show, begin!!
by Wolfie Girl, on Flickr

When she was younger, I'd make smiley faces at her and play 'peek a boo' with the camera. so one minute I'd be framing the shot, and next I'd pop my face out and make a crazy expression. the minute her face changed into joy I'd click the shutter. I've done this successfully with younger children who don't necessarily know me either. (children of friends/mother's group kids)

I took this shot actually looking at her, with the camera just to the side of my face as I clicked the shutter. This is one instance where AF did the hard work.

Sometimes AF lenses manage to grab shots that I don't expect to get.

butterfly on a swing
by Wolfie Girl, on Flickr (Pentax F 35-105, k-s2)

I think in general I tend to try to make it a fun experience if I can. She never feels pressured, and she can just act naturally in front of the camera.

You will see in the shots I showed, I use a variety of different lenses (both manual and AF). Each have their pros and cons. telephoto-ish (105, 135+) means you don't need to be as 'intrusive' and you can let them do their thing while you sneakily take the shot. This is especially true for pet photography. At least for me. YMMV.

While the portraiture ones (18-70) means I can grab closer shots - especially when they're younger, so they're actually looking up at you, etc. In these cases, mfd being as short as possible is key. The F 35-105 drove me crazy because I had to be so far away in order to grab the shot.

I have used both mirrorless and dslrs, and found the k-01 to be a touch too slow for my liking - although I made do with it for quite a while before I upgraded...

I have also read that saying outlandish things for slightly older kids can sometimes shock them into a laugh. As I have only had experience from newborn to toddler stage, I can only give you advice based on what I've learned shooting with my own girl and her friends.

Hope that helps. Sorry for the photo spam.

Last edited by wolfiegirl; 05-28-2016 at 05:15 AM.
05-28-2016, 05:04 AM   #26
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I appreciate the difficulty involved. Saying "Purple Pickle" loudly always worked with my kids back in the day. Not sure why exactly.

05-31-2016, 10:57 AM   #27
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I have a two year old with about a 2 second attention span.
Keep shutter speed high. You will have to bump up your ISO, but that is OK. Shoot raw and don't print too big. (It should be no problem getting 8x10 prints with ISO 6400 with modern APS-C sensors, especially portraits where ultimate detail is not a concern).

Lower your expectations and go for volume. Yea, your keeper rate will be low, but it just means having to hit the delete button a bunch of times.

Use a smaller aperture than you normally would with adult subjects.
06-04-2016, 11:01 AM   #28
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last causal photo shoot I grabbed my DA*50-135 outside and sat on a chair drinking a few beer and waiting until the child got used to me that followed her around (focusing, that is) and firing when ever she had an interesting expression that gives a hint to her personality. mostly F2.8-3.2 c-autofocus with ISO up to 5,000 at times. I find above that point the shots are too soft due to lack of detail.


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