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To Brandon Stanton, the photographer behind the popular blog Humans of New York, taking pictures of kids is a whole different ballgame compared to snapping shots of adults. But he went for it anyway in his new book, Little Humans (out Oct. 7), which features charming images of Big Apple babes, plus their sweet stories. "I have a totally different process when I approach kids," Stanton tells PEOPLE. "I don't even acknowledge the child until I've explained everything to the parent."
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Little Humans has been in the works for a while. "The exact idea for the format of the book came from numerous brainstorming sessions," Stanton tells PEOPLE. "It went through several drafts until everyone was super excited about it."
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"A lot of the children I photograph are extremely colorfully dressed in some way," says Stanton, "but I also find a lot of kids with outsized personalities or who happen to be doing something charming."
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What tips does Stanton have for photographing children? "I normally just sit on the ground so I can be on the same level as the kid," he shares. "I've never taken a kid portrait standing up."
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"Some people are more reticent than others," Stanton explains of getting his subjects to open up to him. "I just try to be very open about my intentions, and genuinely curious toward what people have to say."
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I SCREAM ...
However, Stanton – whose blog features some very deep commentary from its subjects – doesn't like it when a person's story sound too rehearsed. "I put a lot of effort into recognizing 'stage managed' quotes that seem prepared," he says. "I like the quotes to be spontaneous and of-the-moment."
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"Some people beg to have their picture taken," says Stanton, "but I have a hard rule that you are never allowed to 'ask' for a photo." (Doesn't seem like these little ones needed to!)
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Next up for the photographer? Staying in one place following a trip that included stops in Africa, Mexico, Vietnam and India. "After two months on the road, honestly, I'm looking forward to refocusing back on New York and finding new and better ways to tell stories from the streets of the city," he says. And we can't wait to see them!
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