April 9, 2021

Tips For Shooting Photos At The Playground

Follow your client’s kid or kids throughout the park for continuity, action, and fun expressions.

Toronto and the GTA are packed with neighborhood parks. It goes without saying, playgrounds are one of the highlights of childhood. They’re a place where kids are always happy and in action. And that’s exactly why playgrounds are a great place for a family photographer to snap images of children. But before you meet with your client and their child or children at their local Toronto park, here are some tips for you to get the perfect shots.

When photographing children, it’s best to get on their level because you’ll see more of the child’s face. In fact, looking down on your subject tends to make them appear distorted. And getting to the ground can also give your photos a look from the child’s perspective.

Although I used a 35mm prime lens to capture these photos, I highly recommend grabbing a zoom lens in order to avoid overcropping – and only including what’s important to your shot. For instance, if you’re snapping a kid going down the slide, you’ll only want to zoom and focus on the child on the slide, instead of the getting rest of the playground apparatus in the frame.  

At the playground and at most places in general, it’s very difficult to get a kid to stay still for photos. So, I highly recommend capturing children in action and setting your camera to sequential mode – this will give you a variety of photos to choose from.

While you could easily take photos of older children on the swings or monkey bars, that’s not typically possible with toddlers. So, it’s best to focus on activities that babies can participate in at the park such as going down the slide. Also, it’s definitely fun to experiment with different angles.

In addition, your photos will look more interesting if you include geometric shapes and bright colors in your composition. And, if your client’s child does slow down for a sec, snap that impromptu portrait!

With all of that said and done, a playground is not only a perfect place for kids to have a ball, photographers can produce exciting photos too.

Focus on the playground equipment, so its bright colors, lines and shapes become a component of the subject.
Candid shots can be more interesting than posed shots, as long as the kid’s face is visible through the lens.
Close-up photos like this one on the slide create vibrant images.
Take a portrait or two when the child is slowing down between activities.
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