It's Easy if You Try, Photographing Kids in the 3rd Wave / by Zack Smith

For years and years i would turn down photographing children. I didn't want to photograph them by themselves, or with their parents. The ideas of chasing a kid around a park, or someones living room, made me cringe and i would then "politely decline and recommend"...

Politely Decline and Recommend. Politely Decline and Recommend....what i was doing, was Accepting Defeat and Throwing Away Money.

So, what was it that i didn't like about photographing kids...control. I had no control over what they did, how they looked, if they stared at the camera or not. So if there were so many variables I could not CONTROL, right? I did this so often for so many years, i missed the "first wave" of friends with kids who wanted some photos from me...and the 2nd wave heard from the 1st wave that i "didn't shoot kids"...

But then the 3rd wave came, and this turned out to be My Wave...

I decided to reduce my variables all together:

ENVIRONMENT:

Go to City Park (you WILL FIND a great background) Bring nothing that plugs in, takes batteries, or requires over 15 minutes of set up time.

EQUIPMENT

I set up a 30x30" diffuser panel on a C-stand and dropped a 20lb shot bag (filled with rocks from City Park). My assistant Tamara bounced light back into the diffused area where the kids sat w/ an elliptical 5 in 1 on the Silver side.

Doing it this way allowed me to concentrate on my settings and the kids only. Not recycle time, color temp, shadows on the face - i let go of control and gained freedom in the end.

GEAR

Canon 6D, 70-200mm 2.8 @ 2.8/200mm

allowed me to bring that moss in the background to just right degree of softness as to not distract from my subject. Here's a few i like, w/ minimal editing. 

EDITS

Global Edits in ACR - +whites, +clarity, +contrast - Selective Adjustment Brush on Right Side of Face.

I added that last shot in to show another way to have freedom..just let the kid GO. After trying to corral them under the diffused light, all they wanted to do was move. And if we are trying to always capture someone in their natural state, in their best way...then we had to let em go.