Photography for Testers: Part 2

Ok, so you have had the weekend to start thinking about what I said in Part 1 where I went over some basic basics.  Today we are going a bit deeper and are going to actually talk about how we shoot and pose our photos.

When you are testing for kids, you are generally going to be photographing a model that is quite a bit shorter than you. (You tween testers can just laugh at the rest of us for this next section since you have most likely passed this stage of life!)  To best show the fit of a garment, you want to be shooting that garment straight on, which means you can rarely stand up straight and take photos.  Instead, you will probably find yourself in some of the following positions:

1. Prone - This just means laying on your belly, and this is where you are going to need to be if you are photographing a baby or sitting toddler.

2. Criss Cross Applesauce - (don't you dare call it 'Indian Style' or your pre-schooler will look at you like you have three heads and correct you.)  Sitting low to the ground will put you straight on to the average 2-5 year old.... the draw back is that you will be anchored to the ground by your buttocks, so probably not the best position to use with runners.

3 Crouching Kneel - this is my personal 'go to' position.  You can swap out knees as needed to keep from putting too much strain on just one.  You can also very quickly get different height levels and be on your feet in a second to run after a kiddo who has decided they are done with the session.

4. Squat - yeah.... this was my 'go to' position 3 kids and 30 lbs ago.  The great thing about this shooting position is your ability to quickly move shift and pivot, you'd also develop great quads!

5. Hunchback Lean - ok, so be careful about using this position too much as it really isn't good for your back, but this is what I use to go in and get that detail shot of a pocket or collar.  This is also a great position if your child is catching up to you in height and you don't have to use the lower positions listed above.

6. The hopping one legged monkey scratch - ummm, if you haven't ended up in some kind of compromising position during your session to make your child crack a smile or at least look at you then you are a lucky lucky human being and I will happily photograph your children for you in the future.

WHY???

Why is it so important that for fit pictures you shoot the model straight on???  As I said before, this is the best way to show fit, but let me go further.  The only way to tell the length of a garment is to see where that garment hits straight on against the child's leg.  The only way to tell if the bodice is high, natural, or drop waisted is to see it shot straight on where you can tell where the child's waist is.  The only way for the designer you are testing for to know if their pattern is working out the way that they envisioned, is to see the front, back, and side views straight on. 

 nice 3/4 length sleeve.....

nice 3/4 length sleeve.....

 umm, what length again???

umm, what length again???

 what a pretty blanket.

what a pretty blanket.

 oh wait, it is a long sleeved T shirt that hits at mid hip!

oh wait, it is a long sleeved T shirt that hits at mid hip!

 oh, a nice knee length skirt.

oh, a nice knee length skirt.

 oh wait that is a skirt!!!

oh wait that is a skirt!!!

Now to show off a pretty collar, or a row of buttons, or a great pocket detail  go ahead and use those crazy angles!!! Shoot down, shoot up, shoot at a diagonal.

Ok - now on to posing those little models.

A Child that wont stay in place:  Give them something to hold, just make sure that the 'something' goes with your shoot.

A child that likes to run away: Place them somewhere where there is nowhere to go.  High grass gave me a good minute to shoot when mine were in that learning to walk/run stage.  Shooting inside on a stool, chair or couch also kept them contained.

A child that won't look at you or cries that 62 degrees is FREEZING and 73 degrees is TOO HOT!  You have two options.  A) you can stop and try again another day with a better bribe.  B) you can go with it.  When my kids refuse to work with me, I shoot them from behind, I tell them to find the bird/plane/unicorn in the sky/tree/house window.  I shoot close ups of the garment and cut out their heads completely

DO's:

  • Do talk to your child before the shoot about how much fun you are going to have showing off their pretty outfit.
  • Do offer your child a reward for an awesome shoot: this can be a big hug, a piece of candy, or a $5 bill.  But your child is helping you out and they deserve to be praised if they cooperate for even 3-4 images.  When you feel about ready to trade in your non-cooperative child for chickens, remember, you signed up to test... not your kiddo.
  • Do sing silly songs, make fart sounds, and search for that crazy bird that keeps landing on your head.
  • Do suggest poses, but also allow your kid to be themselves.  Older children will feel more invested if they get to have a part in the decision making - so talk with them about locations, accessories, and poses that will best show off their new duds.

Here are some tried and true tricks to get a shot with difficult models:

1) Set your child up to jump.  But WAIT... we don't jump until we count to 3.  So count along with me.  1....(click) 2.... (click Click click) THREE... (click).  The jump shot isn't really what I am after, it is the set up.  My kids will always look towards me while counting, sometimes my drawing out the numbers will even make them smile, and those are the pictures I need.  

2) Have your child twirl.  First you can get a great movement shot this way.  But if you time yourself right, your child will usually stop and look to you for affirmation as their twirl comes to a close.  This is the moment to get a great smile from them as you cheer them on and click away.

3) Have your child (especialy boy children) scream a word at the top of their lungs.  According to Jackie B. 'chicken' works particularly well.  Try it and show me the smiles you get!!!

4)  BRIBE BRIBE and BRIBE some more.... ummm yeah ;op

Alright, I'll let today's info sink in for a bit, and we'll come back on Friday with Part 3 where I'll talk about framing - and not the kind you hang on the wall.