This week, Yensa tells us more about her photography experience while working with children and tips for informal portraits.
Working with Children
Recently I took a second trip to a pre-school to take photos of the children. There were some difficulties with my first shoot, but this time, I was fully prepared. I had my father join me and he helped me with the set-up by putting up a white sheet to create a solid background.
When the preparations were completed, I began to take portraits of the children with the wooden wall behind them. While I took their photos, my father stood behind me doing silly antics that made the kids laugh or crack a smile. He found this stuffed monkey and played with it on my head so that they were facing me.
I’ve learnt that taking photos of children is really difficult because it takes a lot of effort to get their attention and once you have it, you have to work at keeping it. My father was very helpful in this manner and, on my own, it would have been tricky to get their attention and take their photo. Your browser may not support display of this image. I also decided to take their portraits in black and white.
When I began, some children were shy but as I spoke with them, they loosen up. At the end of the day, the children who were shy at the beginning couldn’t stop asking me to take their photo. It’s important to pay attention to all of the children. You don’t want to have photos of some children; you want to have photos of all.
Even though it was my second trip for this job, I believe that I successfully captured their laughter and smiles. Overall it was a fantastic experience and I really enjoyed my time with them.
Informal portraits seek to capture the subject’s mood and reveal something about that person. It tells a story and, although it may seem unlikely, it is possible to plan this process.
In the photo above I gave Sammy a book with lots of colours and in no time he was flipping through the pages. He didn’t know I was taking pictures so I just clicked away while he became more fascinated with the book.
On the day I took this photo, I was also taking family portraits. After I finished the family job, I continued taking photos of the boys. Zack immediately connected with the camera and showed his personality in every photo I took of him. It was really exciting and fun working with him.
It is always good to focus on your subject. Speak with them to make them comfortable. Think beyond “say cheese” so that you can capture their facial expressions in the moment. A quick tip to get your subject to reveal good facial expressions is to suggest they act as a different character because it can be easier to play a role rather than not knowing what to do in front of the camera.
This photo was taken on New Year’s Eve at a 1920’s themed party. Everyone was in their character right away. Before the party started, I asked my sister and a friend if I could take their photos. It was really enjoyable; they even had a name and a role for their characters.
When my sister returns from university, I try to get as many photos of us as I can. This day was really fun because we were fully energised and ready to take photos. This was taken on our balcony; it was all her idea. She’s very creative when it comes to posing and that really helps when taking photos.
This photo was taken outside of my house. My aunt was visiting and I promised her that I would take her photo so that she can show all her friends the beauty of Antigua and make them jealous. I’m pretty sure I captured all of her beauty and happiness in this shot.
Some great tips to enhance your photos are to explore the different effects with the image: give it a tint, soften the image, and crop the image in a certain way. This will add attention to your subject so that he or she is more eye-catching and stands out. Be creative and play with the hue, saturation, and grey scale alternatives.
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