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Setting the stage

From: Douglas Kirkland on Photography: Photographing Kids and Families

Video: Setting the stage

(music playing) The pictures we took yesterday of families and friends were very important to me, and it's something that I've wanted to do with these people for some time. The first people to arrive were Joel and Ona, with their son James. He was the first person to be photographed. (video playing) Ona is a very special lady to me, because I've photographed her since she was 17, just after she had arrived here in the States from Nigeria.

Setting the stage

(music playing) The pictures we took yesterday of families and friends were very important to me, and it's something that I've wanted to do with these people for some time. The first people to arrive were Joel and Ona, with their son James. He was the first person to be photographed. (video playing) Ona is a very special lady to me, because I've photographed her since she was 17, just after she had arrived here in the States from Nigeria.

And then I photographed her wedding with Joel. And then she was pregnant one day, and then I wanted to photograph her in a studio. I used the spotlight in the background to get the shape of her stomach, and at one point I brought Joel in to listen to the baby. This was the beginning of photographing this family for me. And James has been great, and that boy just looks more incredible all the time. Look at that head of hair! When James arrived with his mom and dad, it was interesting, because at first, even though I'd see him a lot of times, he was a little timid.

You want to have a nice relationship; you want to have a warm relationship. They want to communicate in their own way, even if they're not talking very much. I like a zoom lens with kids, because you might have a wide shot one moment and you might get a close headshot a second later. You don't have to change your lens or anything else, because my concentration is me and my subject. (video playing) I wanted him to be comfortable with me with my camera.

That was my first job at that point. (video playing) Go to your most basic instincts and recollection of what you were like as a kid and allow yourself to become a kid a little.

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