Photographing Children Through Their Eyes: 5 Ways to Evoke Childlike Whimsy in Your Child Photography
As child photographers, and in dealing with children on a regular basis, I think we all feel the fascination with this stage of human life!
There is nothing more truthful than children and their imaginations. In childhood everything is true, as dream and reality merge themselves and are one! The world through the eyes of a child is always a new place … colorful, surprising, and unexpected. This is the world in which we all should live!
I’ve always been curious about how children see the world, and my background in psychology helped me to gain better insight into the fragmented and borderless way in which the child exists in the world.
For this reason, when I started photographing children, I soon felt the need to bring to my photos this magical way of seeing and being in the world, as if an image was photographed by the child’s own eyes!
Today I’m sharing a few tips on how can we photograph children ‘through their eyes’, and thereby evoke a magical, whimsical world.
1. Seek Inspiration in Their World
Inspiration and creativity are fundamental aspects of any artistic activity. If we aspire to see the world as a child sees it, we have to be subject to the same stimuli and look for our inspiration there. Sources where we can look for inspiration are: children’s books, the drawings of children, animated films, the adventures that they are always telling us of, and their ‘theories’ about all kinds of things! We may be surprised by how many interesting elements we can find in these sources, and how we can use them in our photography.
2. Think Like a Child
There is a saying that there is a little bit of ‘kid’ in each of us! The fact is that as we grow up, we can lose our sense of wonder, and a child’s naivety. So it’s easier said than done when it comes to thinking like a child!
However, there is a time in our daily lives when our mind functions closest to its a childlike state: at night, while we dream. During sleep our unconscious mind is expressed more freely and is not as affected by all the limitations that we as adults are subjected to in everyday life. The challenge at this point is to remember our dreams! I encourage you to develop the habit of taking note of your dreams in a diary, just after waking up. Your ability to retain and remember the stories and scenarios that exist in your nights will increase dramatically!
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Color
Children love color and everything that is colorful and vibrant! By listening to them talk, draw, and even letting them choose their clothes, we realize that this is true! In my photos I try to represent this fact by choosing a dominant color, and then composing with other colors from different elements. Ideally, the final composition is a set of harmonious, vibrant colors.
4. Keep Things Simple
Photographic composition should be well composed, and free of unnecessary complexity. Our attention should be immediately driven to the main subject!
5. Create and Use Characters, Animals, and Symbols
Children’s relationship with animals is fascinating, perhaps because they speak the same language: that of innocence! By including animals in the photos, we are not only using a very present element in the world of children, but we are also increasing the chances of capturing unique and special moments.
In addition to the animals, we can create and use characters, whether they be from children’s stories, or even archetypal characters and symbols recreating a fantastical world. In addition to being elements with which children can interact, characters can also help create a greater emotional component.
With the birth of his daughter … Porto, Portugal landscape photographer Ricardo Silva realized that what he really wanted to do was capture smiles, interact with people, and capture their moments, expressions, and lives. What attracts him to portrait photography is recording the essence and truth of people, and for this reason especially he loves photographing children. Ricardo and his team also photograph family lifestyle sessions, weddings, baptisms, anniversaries, and any special moments his clients want to remember.
napcp contributor meet Katie Mitchell
About the Contributor: Katie, our Editorial Manager, is our wordsmith and communications extraordinaire! After college and graduate school, she worked in the nonprofit world, and briefly in politics. She realized she'd be quickly burned out, and started writing for various lifestyle websites. Before landing at NAPCP, Katie shot product photography for Etsy shops and other small business owners. Katie also works with Pinterest, as a member of their Pinfluencer team. She is passionate about making the world a happier, more beautiful place! Katie lives for her husband and two children, updating their totally 90's home, and finding joy in the small things. Even washing dishes.
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We are so delighted that you are here. The National Association of Professional Child Photographers is an association whose mission is to promote and support the artistry and integrity of professional child photographers. To accomplish this mission, NAPCP provides the most comprehensive resources for its members, bringing together a community of passionate artists committed to growth in their skills, their artistry, and their businesses.
NAPCP.com (formally pronounced "NAP-C-P") is a place where professional child photographers can come and connect, learn, teach, aspire and grow. It is also a valuable resource for parents who are looking for a professional child photographer in their area, and want to be inspired and educated about our specialized industry.
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