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Photographing children is a fun, wild and unpredictable challenge. Especially when we photograph our own! They run, they giggle, they wriggle, they get distracted very easily and the very last thing they want to do is sit still and say cheese for you.
Here’s 15 brilliant ways to get your kids to cooperate during any kind of shoot!
To get the best photographs of children in any situation you need to change your approach. If you go into a photo session or have the mindset when taking photos of your kids that they will sit in the perfect place with the perfect smile looking like an angel then you will seriously disappointed.
I find the best way to approach photographing kids is to observe and interact. Use the manipulation tools of motherhood or fatherhood to find out what the child feels like doing. The more you tell them to do something, the more they’re inclined not to and you get stressed and thus so do the children.
Below are 15 ways that work for me when photographing uncooperative children…
1 – ASK THEM WHAT THEY WANT TO DO
Instead of handing out the orders to sit there and smile. Try asking what they would like to do and find some common ground. This will allow them to open up and feel more in control.
2 – EMBRACE THEIR INTERESTS
Use their interests to suggest things to do that are relevant. Are they into super heroes? Then suggest being a superhero and saving the day in a particular place. Are they into fairies? Suggest looking for fairy houses in the trees or making a fairy house out of stones on the beach.
3 – SUGGEST A GAME THEY LOVE
What about a game of tag, stuck in the mud, musical bumps using your phone, pooh sticks or something they can’t resist?
4 – LET THEM BE WILD
If they just want to run and be free then let them. Capture those moments of freedom and cherish them forever.
5 – SET THEM A CHALLENGE
This really works well if you say “I bet you can’t….”. Kids love challenges to jump over something, building towers, skimming stones, running fast to a timer.
6 – PLAY PEEK-A-BOO
Hiding behind trees or buildings always gets a real smile!
7 – SHOW THEM THE PHOTOS AS YOU TAKE THEM
If they are feeling shy, try showing the photos as you take them, pointing out that they are in the camera now then asking them if they want you to take more.
8 – HAVE A TICKLE FIGHT
Guaranteed laughter instantly, remember to keep shooting after the tickling has stopped for the best smiles.
9 – DO SOMETHING COMPETITIVE
Always a winner during sessions, no matter how young or old my clients are. Races, sandcastle building, finding the most of something, building the biggest tower.
10 – GET THEM TO PERFORM A TRICK
Get them to spin really fast, jump as high as they can, floss, do gymnastic moves or anything they love doing.
11 – REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY
Tell them not to do the thing you want them to do 😉 Telling my daughter not to smile works a treat every time!
12 – LEAVE THEM TO “JUST BE”
Quietly observe them and photograph them as they are.
13 – DON’T FORCE THEM TO DO ANYTHING
As parents we know kids like to rebel. The moment we tell them to do something their instinct is to do the opposite. Save yourself the stress and change your approach!
14 – PARENTS RELAX
Once you relax the pressure is taken off the children and they relax too.
15 – LET GO OF PERFECTION AND EMBRACE AUTHENTICITY
You child doesn’t have to be smiling in order to get an amazing photo. Capture them as they are in real life. If they’re grumpy – capture that. If they are wild – capture that. If they are shy – capture that. The best photos are the ones which are raw, authentic and truly capture the essence of your child.