Shoot photos that make the model stand out.
Test Photographer (Children, Tweens, Teens, and Young Adults)
I often take more than 200 digital images in about two hours, which overwhelm parents and models when making selections. I am willing to dump unprocessed photos onto a flash drive, so the parent and model can choose the images they want me to process, up to 6 images. The model and I exchange services.
Light the eyes!
Some photographers say that the model should face the sun, but that causes squinting. It is a terrible idea. I suggest you place the model in the shade so that her back is to the sun, which means her face is on the shadow side and needs a fill that balances properly. Often, I use a Canon flash set to high speed attached to the camera when the location does not make the face light up.
See the photo below. It's not perfect, but it demonstrates how I approach shooting photos of young children. Pose the model in the shade with her back to the sun, and focus on the eyes! I have a sharp 85mm prime lens that I usually shoot at f/2.8 to blur the background. Note: In the photo below, I used f/4. Also, there was enough light reflected up from the concrete for fill. I came in close, so the camera metering nailed the scene correctly. I focused on the eyes.
The Charm of Youth! 😋
Images coming straight from the camera are okay but not great until processed. My minimal processing makes them better, not perfect. I'm not in business, and I do not photoshop photos or do makeup. Also, I am not a family portrait or wedding photographer. The digital images are huge files, so typically, I downsize them to 1000 pixels across. Parents usually let me select up to 5 or 10 of the best photos, process them, and email them, which takes about a week. Processing includes minor corrections, downsizing, cropping, sharpening. Gabby (below) does her own makeup. 8-8-21
|Gabby, 16, Test Photoshoot Indoors|
Location: At my house
July 23, 2021
|Outdoor Portrait (Credit: Hannah) 11-09-2020|
Eyes must glitter!
Tips for young models.
After examining thousands of my images from the past 10 years, I noticed several trends that made the model stand out. First, try to stay away from black--you don't want to blend in the background; you want to stand out! Second, avoid busy patterns that distract from your face. Keep your hair off your face, which is your most important asset, i.e., being photogenic. To stand out, wear bright colors, not dark, dull colors. Pastels are great, too! Also, jeans, shorts, and tops should not be baggy or loose--the camera adds pounds! You don't want that. Additionally, Long dresses don't work for today's youth. Kids want to look cute, so they go short! Trendy or not, avoid ripped jeans because the rips often sidetrack attention. When I look at a photo of a model in ripped jeans, I look at the rips, not the model's face or expression. Finally, young children should avoid makeup, hair coloring, and trendy hairstyles--long and straight hair always works and is changeable. When you are a teen, you may need a tad of makeup.
Simple clothing styles are better. I look for shade, keep the sun to the model's back, and watch for light spills on the face. Busy patterns, bold stripes, and trendy styles can distract from the model, which is why I like solid colors, primary colors, pastels, and classic clothing styles. Outfits should complement, not dominate, the picture.
Eye contact with the camera is important, but so is a profile shot now and then. Outdoors, I often use an on-camera Canon flash unit set to high speed to light the eyes.
My Equipment is simple but expensive. I have one L lens and one camera.
- Canon's 85mm f/1.4 L. The 85mm is a prime lens. (I don't use zoom lenses.)
- Canon 5D Mark iv
Note: This page replaces my photography page.
Graham, 6th Grade.
Clothing: I like solid colors, primarily white and pastel colors. But primary colors and other colors work well, too.
I am older, so it is not easy for me to hold the camera steady like I used to. (I never use a tripod.) On the Canon 5D Mark iv camera, I can set the shutter speed to auto between [1/1000 and 1/8000]. The ISO adjusts accordingly. When I use flash outdoors as a fill, the Canon flash (580EXII) is set to high speed. I have experimented with shooting at f/1.4 for a full length (Canon 85mm f/1.4 L), and, to my surprise, the photos were sharp.
|Canon 5D Mark iv with the Canon 85mm f/1.4 L.|
1/1250, f/2.8, ISO 320, AWB, EC +.333
Model: Gabby, flashing a smile.
|Kailey at about 12 as a middle school student.|
My Rule: Shoot photos that make the model stand out.