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  • 07-12-2012, 04:40 AM
    A family friend has asked me to take pictures of their one-year old son. I am strictly an amateur. Need ideas on poses, locations, include parents in shots or not, etc. Are there any reputable web sites that would offer advice? What advice would you offer? I have a Pentax K5 with Pentax AF 540 FGZ flash. Also what sort of lens? I have a good fixed 50mm then a standard kit lens (18-55).

    All suggestions appreciated.

    (BTW- I won't be charging them. :))
  • 07-12-2012, 08:49 AM
    Re: Help!
    I think your camera, flash and the 50mm will do the job quite nicely. And not charging is a good idea. If there's no money changing hands, the pressure is off. I often do family portraits just for fun for no money. It mixes things up for me a bit and makes the people receiving the photos very happy.

    If you can, do some tests with a friend before the real shoot. Get your flash settings sorted out and figure out what aperture to use with the 50mm. You want to shoot with a larger enough aperture to soften the background, but not so large that only your subject's nose is in focus. This is also distance-dependent. The closer you are, the shallower your depth-of-field will be.

    Have you thought about locations? Background is critical for portraits. I would go to a park with a nice, neutral background that you can throw out of focus with your 50mm. Also, talk to your friends about what they like. Try to get an idea of what kind of location and photos they'd like. That will give you some direction. As for whether or not you should include the parents in the photos - do some with and some without.
  • 07-12-2012, 10:59 AM
    Re: Help!
    PJ i s correct on all points.
    One baby shot that I've always loved and I think it was posted here long ago was of the baby's foot in the dad's open hand or baby's hand in dad's open hand
  • 07-12-2012, 07:06 PM
    Re: Help!
    Thanks, guys. If I get any worthwhile images I will post one on the critique page.
  • 07-12-2012, 07:22 PM
    Re: Help!
    Shooting kids can be fun. Having an 18 month old baby, I have enough shots to bore the pants off the biggest baby lovers. I have used my 50 mm and 30mm for most of these shots and have been pleased.

    Here is what kids have taught me about shooting kids:

    Parks are great as well as museum grounds as they often have well maintained gardens and walk ways with nice stone work for a back drop.

    The biggest advice that I can offer is to schedule early in the morning, shortly after they wake and have had their morning feeding. They will be happy fed and full of fun to get those happy faces and the sun will still be good. If you can not get them in the morning, get them just after nap time.

    Babies are not models and most do not like to be told what to do. So be patient with them and keep your finger on that shutter. You never know when you will get that elusive smile. I have seen many parents at the park try to force a child to do a cute this or that pose and it is clear that baby wants none of this. Stop and play, giggle, laugh, play peak a boo, or offer a snack. If you loose the baby your shot is over.

    As for with or without parents. Like PJ said, why not both. But remind the parents where the lens is pointed. I can't tell you the number of shots I have of children with beautiful smiles and the back of mom or dads head. Parents, new parents especially, try so hard to keep the baby happy and want to see that smile. So, they are looking at the baby making faces and noises that you never see mom or dad's face. If possible, have them bring a grand parent, aunt, uncle close friend etc. They can stand off camera and work on getting that smile. Remember to have that person over your shoulder or sitting on the ground just under your lens so the baby will look at the camera rather then off to the side. If you are shooting baby on the ground, get down there as well.

    It is a great time in these new parents lives. Have fun with it and don't stress. Your fun and happy attitude will reflect on them and in your lens.
  • 07-12-2012, 07:40 PM
    Greg McCary
    Re: Help!
    Adorama has some really cool how to videos I just watched one tonight on outdoor flashing. Also YouTube has hundreds of helpful videos.
  • 07-12-2012, 08:00 PM
    Re: Help!
    Wow! You got a lot of good advice here!

    Just thought I'd add one more thing. Be sure to get natural shots. Sometimes the best photos of kids are taken when they are not expecting it....just doing what kids do. So I would let him have some "alone play" or wandering time - when he isn't even too aware that you are focused on him.

    Someone once told me, when kids are your subject be sure to have fun too - and ENJOY YOURSELF.....don't get uptight or too "focused" on getting the perfect shot. He will pick up on that and it won't be as natural! Have fun and maybe spend some time playing with him if you get a chance.

  • 07-13-2012, 08:51 PM
    Re: Help!
    As always, this is the place for great advice. Many thanks!
  • 07-14-2012, 03:09 PM
    Re: Help!
    I'll add this little tidbit...........have your camera set to "continuous" slow or fast. It assures of catching the baby with it's eyes open. Of course, this is when not using a flash. A flash can't keep up with continuous fire.......... :D I'm guessing you take some with and without flash.