By Tammy Porter on | No Comments
If you have ever photographed children, then you know that their moods can often be unpredictable and change on a dime. They may be upset about coming to your photoshoot or they may just be having a difficult day.
Whatever the scenario, here are few quick tips to help you overcome some of the difficulties you might face when photographing children.
Candy works wonders! I keep a jar of the clear and yellow gummy bears that I bring with me to ALL shoots involving children. I remove the green and red ones ahead of time, because they will stain the lips and tongue. As soon as you meet the kids, give them one. Usually, this puts them in a better mood right away!
If the kids are being REALLY difficult, I try giving them a goal to work for like this: “Let me take 3 pictures and then I will give you another piece of candy.”
If the parents happen to bring their own chocolate, suckers or any sort of red/blue/green candy, be sure to ask them to use YOUR candy instead, to avoid the dreaded lip and mouth stains that will make post processing very difficult.
When you want kids to smile, don't say "cheese." Think of a new word or phrase!! You can even shout “Hey” or just make funny noises to get the their attention. The funnier the better.
A fake or over the top sneeze always get a giggle. Want a boy to laugh? Say something gross: booger, dirty toenails, and any variation of the word poop will have them laughing their heads off and lead to real smiles. Ask little girls to talk about their dress or who did their hair for the photos.
I bought an inexpensive battery operated sound machine on Amazon, one with a remote. When it comes to photographing difficult children, I feel like this little machine has been a great investment and almost as important as my camera! It makes a whole bunch of funny noises that always break the tension and get the kids laughing.
If you have a particularly difficult child, try letting them hold the remote and choose the sounds. Not surprisingly, this also works well on Dads! A bubble machine can also be handy, and bubbles can be really cute in photos.
When all else fails, stop taking pictures. Say “OK, sorry kids my camera is acting up, stay right there for a minute while I check it.” Then pretend like you're trying to fix it and taking test shots. Like magic, the family will start acting normal and you can use that opportunity to take some REAL shots!
I often use this technique at the very beginning of a shoot too. I say "I am just taking some test shots before we start." Surprisingly, the photos I get when I do this are often some of my favorites!
Little girls are very good at mothering and usually love it when you give them a task. So try asking them to be your assistant and help pose mom and dad.
Little boys usually like to check out and touch your camera. I often let them come behind me to look at the photos I'm taking and then let them push the shutter to take a photo of mom and dad.
When one child is being particularly unruly, just let them move out of the shot for a minute to help you take some photos. Once they take a few shots of the rest of the family they will often go back and join in without much fuss.
If you get to the point where you feel like you have totally lost control, JUST GO WITH IT. Let the kids run, jump, cartwheel and act like monkeys.
Just make sure you turn up your shutter speed to capture the crazy action. When you feel that you have taken enough images to feel good about your session, try one last time for a controlled setup. At that point, the children should have at least used up some of their energy and may be willing to settle down for one more posed shot.
Do you have any questions or comments about Photographing Difficult Children? Leave us a comment below - we would LOVE to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE our tutorial using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!
Tammy is a child photographer based in the desert of Arizona. A mother of two, a wife, and a secret lover of interior design. She spends her days juggling a hair salon, a budding children's jewelry line, and her camera. Photography is the driving force behind her relentless need to create beautiful things. You can follow her on Facebook.