Here is another photograph from the time when I was doing lots of children’s portraits, and printing archival lith prints myself. Something I used to love doing, and something I introduced into a college I was teaching at part time. I’ve produced a number of ‘look alike’ lith prints digitally, but it would be a lie if I said they are as good as those printed in the dark room swishing about in chemicals, keeping the temperature just right, and not to mention the two fixes and over an hour of washing. And the reason why, well that’s maybe for another blog.
At the children’s photography workshops that I give, I am always asked, HOW do you get good portraits that are relaxed and natural. The answer applies also to portrait or headshot photography. As a photographer you have to engage with your subject, talk with them (not at them) and you need a few little tricks up your sleeves to make them at ease, especially with children, and that includes older teenagers. Oh, and of course remember that most kids do not have a long concentration span, so if you are going to ask them to stand or sit for an hour – good luck!
Here’s some things that I have done and do.
For younger children, I will ask them to try and see me through the lens. I’ve got some great expressions when they do this. And of course I have also to be told that’s it impossible (how cleaver they are!), when this debate starts, if I’m shooting film or have a Leica M camera and lens with me, I’ll take off the lens, open up the aperture and show them that you can see though a lens – this fascinates them. OK this may all take time, but it also can build a good fun relationship with the child.
I’ve given a child a spare camera to hold, and or look at. (Making sure the strap is around their neck). I have even agreed that they can photograph me at the end of the shoot.
If I’m doing a location shoot, I’ll often get teenagers to help me set up, or if I am set up, say they can help me to take down equipment or challenge them to fold up a Lastolite reflector, which all kids not matter what age have fun in trying to fold a round reflector, it doesn’t matter the size into a small bag. And there are other things to do, but I’ll stop here.
The featured photograph was taken on location in the child’s home.
Camera used, Pentax 6×7 with a 165mm leaf shutter lens. Kodax Tmax 100 film. The photograph was hand printed on Kodak Ektalure paper to archive standards.
You may be interested to view this blog showing a toddler photo.
If you would like to know more, please feel free to contact me.
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