Talented photographer and mother Marina Vojnovic will share with us today some valuable insights about child photography.
Once I’ve read that if you want to learn what someone fears losing, watch what they photograph.
I don’t know for others, but it definitely implies to me. The most important thing in my life is my family and my children. What’s more is, my little girl and husband were my first models. I am in my most comfortable zone when shooting them. I don’t worry about anything; whether the client will like it, if I miss focus, or just don’t get what I had in my mind; it’s just set a scene for my girl, I usually direct her a bit (without letting her know, that she is being directed) and enjoy the most out of it.
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Childhood passes so quickly. This way, we share things together and create family memories. I believe that photography makes our connection deeper and I am happy that I managed to develop skills to capture, at least some of her playful childhood and sweetness. With time, I started to get out my comfy zone and started to take pictures of other kids, and people, but strictly if I get inspired. I am just really not allowing anyone to turn this passion of mine into something that I do just because someone asked me. That sparkle I have, I tender very gently. Photography is still a hobby in my life which means I don’t really have a lot of time for it. This is why, when I do it, it has to be something that makes me happy.
Sometime I have an urge to photograph something else, like boudoir or flowers; which is quite different from what I do most of the time. But that is exactly why I love photography. It is an endless sea of directions where You can go, that I feel like I will never stop having fun doing it.
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Look through viewfinder changed the way I see things in general. Now I see ruined house and think to myself: wow, what an amazing scene to shoot at. Before it was just a ruined house. That being said, wherever I go, I scout places. When I see something that inspires me, it starts occupying my mind. I start thinking what kind of story I want to tell. Then I choose clothes and props that goes with it. It’s not necessary some big scenario, sometimes it’s just a toy or nice clothes that compliments background. Once I have everything set up in my head, I wait for suitable weather and take my girl with me.
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When I come to the place, I find a frame, and settings. I pretty much always go as wide open as possible. During that time I let my girl play and snoop around. When I am ready, I take props out. With kids, You don’t have much time. Their attention span is very short. I often lay on the floor, into the dirt to go as low as possible, to be in their level. It’s great to have someone around to help, because when I am laying and using my 150mm lens, it’s not always easy to get up all the time to add something to a kid, or to get them back to the position you want to shoot them at.
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I make up little games, or tell something weird if I want them to take a look in certain direction. For example, look this bird on my head I know my children, so I know what would to tell for them to get certain expression from them or make them look where I want them to. If I shoot other kids, then I try to find out ahead from parents what keeps them interested.
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Since I still feel like a beginner, it makes me feel a bit silly giving advice to other photographers, but here are some of the guidelines that I stick to: keep yourself inspired, study photos that You like- angles, light, everything You like about it, get to know Your focus system, prepare everything ahead because kids attention doesn’t last long, synchronize subject’s clothes with the background, be ready to take the shot, because with kids, most of the time, it cannot be recreated. Post-process for me is equally important as everything else.
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The hardest thing for me, I guess is getting them in focus. They are moving fast and it can be challenging. I shoot about 100-150 pics, and all I need is one to three out of it to tell the story. The worst thing is to find out that the best picture is blurry. That’s why is important to get to know Your camera and its focusing system. Sometimes, I still have those struggles. The most rewarding is the parents’ happiness when they get the pictures. A few days after, I receive Thank You messages – that really warms my heart. Or when time passes by and I take a look at our family photos and get goosebumps.
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Study others, learn from everything and everybody, but through it all try, to give something that is your, something authentic and real.
About Marina Vojnovic
I am 36 years old and live in Osijek, small town in Croatia. I work in finance department and deal with numbers for the most of my life. 4 years ago, a month before I will have my first child, I have bought myself amateur DSLR camera. I wanted to have nice pictures of my baby. I thought that I will instantly start making better pictures, now that I had a better camera. Guess what, that didn’t happened. And then started my iterative process of learning. It didn’t come to me naturally. It was a process of small steps of improvements that still lasts.
Before I met photography, nothing occupied me for a long time. I would just loose interest in a few months. All my life I wanted something that will be just mine. And then photography bit me and for the last 4 years I enjoy reading about it and studying great photos, as much as shooting and editing. I steal every free second of my time to explore it.