Taking a portrait of a child is never easy, and the younger they are the more difficult it becomes to capture a glimpse of their essence. For this reason I stick to children who are at least 2 years of age or older. I cannot fathom what it takes to photograph babies; there are many photographers out there who specialize in that field and from what I've read there is no room for error, no room for chance, and no room for random opportunities. I was recently reading about Anne Geddes' approach, and she has everything perfectly set up in studio first so all her model has to do is sit down in front her camera and look around. That's more planning than I care to bother with.
My approach is a little more spontaneous. Some may call my approach haptic-expressionism with a dash of the visual-realist, but I prefer not to label my approach. Labels have a way of cornering an artist. I do, however, go to artistic sessions with a photograph in mind of my subjects, and often (almost without doubt) something much better presents itself to me. I think keeping an open mind puts my subjects at ease, because when subjects are this young it's best to let them be themselves, which often means letting them play, taking breaks in between shots, and just letting them run around.
A friend of mine (who so graciously let me photograph her son) once asked me how I get such great photographs of him. The only answer I have is that I'm patient, I don't push, and sometimes you just have to trick children by making everything a game. When it's fun you get to see the more natural side of children; auto-focus lenses also help. I used to be a firm believer in manual focus glass, but over the past few years my sight has not been at its best. As a result I have found that auto-focus really allows me way more latitude in capturing just the right moment. I don't pray-and-spray; I just look into the frame and when everything is in the right place I press the shutter button.
So when is everything in the right place? Stay tuned for my next review, rambling, or post.
Till next time, this is hey, hey,