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Taking pictures of children can be quite a challenge, even for the most skilled photographer. This challenge can seem even bigger when a photographer is working with children who have Down syndrome. However, the heartwarming photos featured in the Daily Mail show that the challenge is well worth it; children with Downs syndrome have a pure innocence that a sensitive and artistic lens can capture. Here’s how this happens.
Photographer Bethany Balsis
The photoshoot of children with Down’s syndrome is aesthetically and emotionally effective because the essence of each picture is clear. To obtain this clarity, it is important for a photographer to define what the spirit of the picture will be. Will it be a formal portrait? Is it meant to commemorate a special occasion? Is it just an ordinary photo without any theme or motif? Once this is defined, a photographer can envision how certain elements can be included in the product while still allowing the child’s personality to shine through. For example, in this series, you have two boys holding pumpkins for a fall photo. The boys and their happy smiles, not the pumpkins, are the star of the shoot.
Patience is the key to a good picture. Children can be motion personified, and the moment they are asked to keep still and pose, they simply are not themselves, so you will have to wait for the right moment. The best pictures are those that show children at their most natural: brows puckered in concentration, or eyes wide with wonder, or giggling at something they find funny. The pictures in this featured series are all truly magical because the photographer, Bethany Balsis, has succeeded in showing the joy in the children’s faces.
If you want to get a good picture, unobtrusively wait for that moment to happen and then quickly take your shot, using a fast shutter speed to avoid a blurred picture.
Once in a while fate steps in and you get an excellent photo without preparing for it. The rest of the time, however, due diligence is called for. Get your paraphernalia ready when you want to take pictures.
If you want to take pictures of children indoors, remember that lighting can be a problem, particularly if you are using a point and shoot camera. If you are, make sure that the action is happening near a window where you have as much illumination as possible. If you are shooting outdoors, remember not to shoot against the sun unless you can adjust your settings accordingly.
Speed is of the essence when you are working with children. Some professional photographers recommend setting your camera on “Aperture Priority” so that as you change your camera’s aperture, the camera will automatically go to the appropriate shutter speed. As a rule, when the lighting is low, set your aperture at the lowest number to raise your shutter speed.
Good photos come with a good environment. This means allowing children to relax, have fun and be comfortable with your presence. Once they forget you are there, the setting is ready. At times, this may mean bringing toys and props for your photoshoot. However, the series taken by Bethany Balsis shows it is sufficient to simply allow children to be themselves and have fun.
Remember that when you are taking pictures of children, you may have to physically go down to their level. Bend and take a step closer before taking the shot so that the child becomes a more dominant feature of the photo. Get to the level where you are in a position to take note of important details in the child’s face and demeanor.
Most of all, pay attention to the children’s eyes. You know you are at the right level, and you will have a good shot when see what their eyes are saying. In each of the pictures in the series by Balsis, the children’s eyes show exactly how much joy there is in children with Down syndrome.
Magical photoshoots don’t happen overnight. They come with planning and practice. Experiment with photo sessions using tips from experts, and learn from these pictures of children with Down syndrome. Each one is a window to the hearts of children who are very special indeed.
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