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A couple of weeks ago I had the idea to gave the daughter of a good friend of mine an exciting birthday present: a photoshoot. This was my first shoot with kids somewhere in a city center or a park. I decided the location a couple of hours before the shoot. For her, it was an exciting day and I heard from my friend that she was stressed about what to wear. So I thought about the style of photos that fit her personality and gave some ideas, what to wear. She chooses for something black with large white letters, a baseball cap, and a new backpack. If you don't like to read or if you are curious scroll direct to end end of this blog post for the photos :). It was a great day, not too bright sunlight, sometimes a cloud here and there. And we did get some rain a couple of times... I have questioned myself, how do you prepare yourself for a shoot like this? Good question. I do follow my instinct, but I did learn some techniques that I could do better in my last urban photoshoot. Let me share my preparation:
Preparation:My preparation was
- Get to know your kid model better
- Model poses
Gear:If you have read more of my blogs, you know that my gear is of FujiFilm. The X100F, a very versatile camera and I still love it. I want to buy the X-T3 because of the lack of a 50mm lens with the X100F. I have never shot with a focal length larger than 35mm. I have done a photoshoot with only the 35mm this was also the start of my urban photoshoots. Starting with Urban Style photo Although I don't have any experience with another focal length yet, I knew I missed something to make better portraits. For me, this was an interesting discovery because the moment you know you need more gear for a certain goal, you are getting a better photographer. My goal was to buy the X-T3 because of the possibility to change lenses, which is impossible with the X100F. The only challenge. I did not enough money yet to buy the X-T3, with a 50mm prime lens. So what now... There is something magnificent about the X100F. There is a possibility to add a teleconverter on the fixed lens of the X100F. It is the TCL-100. For just around €250, you can change the X100F to a 50mm focal length and it is a great buy! I love this extension and it is easy to turn it on the camera. I had the perfect setup. 35mm for full body shots and the 50mm for more close-ups. On the technical side, I was ready to go!
LocationBut the next chapter is finding a good location. The place where it all happens was Hoorn, a city 30 minutes above Amsterdam with a city center. Hoorn has a small harbor, so it is connected to a big lake, IJsselmeer. Near the lake, there are some beautiful parks. I used Google Earth to do some research about a possible location. I love to go to city centers and find some cool spots. For this shoot, I decided to go to the park due to the circumstances of the weather. I thought it could be interesting with nature, the light and hopefully interesting shadows.
Get to know the kid betterNow I have the right gear and the location. I need to know more about the style of photo I want to produce and what type of kid I have in front of my camera. How do you get to know more about the kid? Let me give you a tip:
- How to understand what kind of kid you have in front of your camera?
- Talk to the kid:
- What does he/she like?
- What kind of sport does she/he do?
- Is there a certain person they like?
- Maybe they can show you some pictures of their favorite pictures
- Talk to their parents,
- get more information about his/her character?
- is he/she a though, sweet, relaxed, energetic, cool, etc?
- Is he/she a shy introvert or extravert?
- What kind of pictures do their parents like? can be very important too :)
- Which parent will join the photoshoot? I think it is important to have a parent present during the shoot because you are working with kids who cannot easily defend themselves if they don like one of your ideas. This is because strange eyes can force the kid easily and this is not what you want as a photographer. You can talk to the parent about the ideas you have. During an urban photoshoot, new ideas will rise.
Model Poses:My question was, what kind of poses fit in the photoshoot I have in mind. Doing photoshoots it is not my daily job, so I use my imagination and Pinterest for inspiration. How I use Pinterest for my photo graphics can be read in one of my blogs about "How do I learn photography - part 3 - Pinterest". Follow this link to read this blog. How do I Learn (street) photography part 3 – Pinterest I made the following mood board for the photoshoot: Preparation photoshoot - Emma
The photoshootIt was her big day, my model Emma was excited but quite nervous told her mother. I choose a spot and started to take pictures. I told her about the instructions I can give her:
- If I say a little bit, I mean a very very little bit. I did what it means by it.Like, move your head a little bit. I moved my head a little bit so she understands the instruction
- Don like right into the lens but a bit over the lens. I showed her some locations on the camera
- If I have an idea for a pose, I gave the example.
- Try to relax your face. due to her nerves, she was not always relaxed in her face.Therefore if stopped sometimes so she could relax and we did some crazy moves with the mouth. She laughed and this was the moment she got relaxed again.
- choose your moment of the day. I love to work early in the morning or later in a day. My favorite, golden hour.
- Do you want to know the golden hour moment in your area and the season of the year? check out this amazing app:Sun surveyor: https://apps.apple.com/nl/app/sun-surveyor-zon-maan/id525176875
- Look around you to create a restful backdrop
- study the light
- Do you want to create photos with hard light and shadows?I like to have less hard shadows when I make a portraitI preferred to work with natural light.
- I tell my model about my idea at the spot I have found
- I ask him/her if they have any ideas to get great pictures?
- I show what kind of position I have in mind
- I ask the model if they have some positions in mind
- A young model needs some time to relax and lower the tension of shoot, so I make some crazy photos to lower the tension and keep the model having fun while they working hard to get the best photos.
- Keep talking to the model about the positions they do and say positive words to get the model more confidence.
- Keep the session around 1hr - 1.5hrs to keep the young model focused.
- Share a couple of great shots as quickly as possible, while you are selecting and editing the photos. They are so curious about the result, they can't wait. And what about their parents... they are even more curious :).
Summary:Photoshoots with kids are great to do. They can be very nervous, so let them make at ease, smile, talk to them while doing the photoshoot and be always positive what they do. Try to instruct him/her before you are starting the shoot, to understand your instruction well. Prepare your shoot with positions that might be in the style of the shoot you like to do. Show the position in advance by doing it yourself and the most important part have a lot of fun! If you have other tips, write them below in the comments! Let share our knowledge!
The result of the photoshoot with Emma:
All the best, Stefan