getfocused: Advice from our chief photographerBy Katie Lamb
March 19, 2012
Katie Lamb is chief photographer for the Bracknell Standard, the Reading Post and The Wokingham Times.
She studied for a degree in photography at the University of Roehampton and worked as a freelance before joining the staff of The Wokingham Times in 2006.
Katie will be writing about her work as a photographer and offering some tips and tricks of the trade in getfocused - our new online camera club.
You can send your questions to her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the comment facility at the bottom of this page. She would also like you to share your pictures from around the area and the best ones could be published in the Reading Post.
Portraits of children.
One of the regular visits I make as a press photographer around Reading, Wokingham and Bracknell is storytime at the local libraries. (All parents are asked to give permission for their children to be photographed before I start.)
This is a great opportunity to get natural portraits of young children. They are absorbed in the storytelling and I can walk around the room and capture the expressions of the children without being noticed too much.
Window light provides a natural light source and if you manage to position the children facing toward the windows, it will give them a great catchlight in their eyes which will bring the portrait to life. My recommendation would be not to use flash as it can distract the children and interfere with their storytime.
Sometimes I use a 50mm prime (i.e non-zoom) lense which is very sharp. I shoot at a wide aperture, focusing on the eyes, to keep the subject in focus and let the background blur which will get rid of any unwanted distractions.
If you use a 50mm lense you will need to get quite close to your subject for a tight crop which means the children must feel relaxed and comfortable around you.
A fast shutter speed is also important to keep the image sharp as children don't stay still for very long.
The key to photographing children is to be patient, keep them absorbed in an activity and wait for the moment when they look up, or laugh. I find its best to work around the children and let them form poses naturally.
Gently place them into a position if you want to or slightly direct them into a more pleasing pose, but try not to distract them too much as the moment you do this the child becomes very stiff and awkward around you and the picture can look too rigid.
Finally, I try not to take to long at these events. Twenty five minutes maximum to get what I require and then leave quietly, this allows the children to enjoy their time at the library. It is important not to be too intrusive for the children and parents.
Send your pictures to email@example.com and we'll add them to our gallery. Make sure you tell us who you are, where the pictures were taken and any technical infomation you would like to include. Pictures should be around 600 pixels wide at 72 dpi.