What are the three most common mistakes parents make when photographing their young children?
1. Being Your Own Wrangler
The number one mistake is trying to fly solo. There are just so many more great photos, so many more opportunities, you’re going to get if you partner with someone. It’s definitely the “it takes a village” idea. It takes at least two people to get great photos. When I’m trying to get photos, I’ll ask my wife to take on the role of kid wrangler and that’s her whole job. She’s just trying to keep their attention and keep them occupied. She’ll use noise makers or toys above my head and do all sorts of playful stuff just to keep them focused.
2. Sticking to Your Schedule (And Not Your Child’s)
One of the most important things that many parents and photographers forget is to put their own ego aside, to put their own schedule aside. You really have to be extremely flexible and go with the child’s schedule and moods. We don’t want to face that as adults, because we have a busy schedule ourselves, but if you have a two-year-old and you’re getting him at the wrong time, no amount of skill is going to make good photos happen. It also helps if you have your camera with you at all times in case a great moment occurs or your child is suddenly in the mood for picture-taking.
3. Taking Only One Shot
Here’s another really big one: only taking one or two shots. It’s a very common problem. You have to work with the law of averages. You’ve got a moving entity on your hands and it sounds very basic, but you just have to shoot a lot. Pulling out the camera and doing one snapshot, it’s not going to work. If you just take one shot, you’re going to likely miss the moment and be disappointed later.
And make sure that you’re shooting with a fast shutter speed if your camera allows you to control it. When I bought my point-and-shoot camera, I went into the camera store and I asked the guy to line them all up. I pressed down each button to see which one was the fastest. The faster the camera, the better the chance of getting the shot you want!
Interview by Lindsay Armstrong