Having six children, I feel that I have somewhat mastered this area of photography. Children's photography is not easy. Telling a child how to stand, where to put their hands, which way to look...it is not for the faint of heart. My children have learned that their mom is a photographer and taking photos is just not optional...it is required. And daily. Yes, I take several photos every single day. This not only allows me to have memories of each day but also gives me a lot of practice. I find the more I practice, the better each photo becomes.
Here are some tips to photographing your child or your clients' children...
1. Don't be afraid of the bribe.
Yes it is true...a photo always comes with a promise in my household. A promise of candy. A promise of a good mark on their behavior chart. A promise of a fun outing, extra book or favorite television show. Either way, it works. They are willing to take the photo as long as they get something out of it.
This is not the same as the bribe. This is mostly for that impossible age of “just started to walk” up to “right before they turn three.” And I suggest suckers. They still look cute in the photos and the child becomes engaged with the camera and sits still for a short amount of time while enjoying the lollipop. I always make sure to have some with me during my sessions and in my bag for my own children.
3. Limit the poses.
Children only sit for so long. Don't ask too much of them. Try to get them to pose for about ten photos, most likely two poses total. Then put your camera into your action settings and capture the more lifestyle poses with minimal prompting.
4. Funny noises.
Kids like to laugh, so make them laugh. Get their attention. Always have a noisy toy handy. A toy that squeaks and rattles. Ask them questions. Tell them there are animals in the lens and to find them, this makes them look directly into the lens. Ask them if there is a spider on your head.
5. Embrace their individual personalities.
I often find myself saying, “Smile!” or “Say cheese.” A forced smile is never a pretty smile. If you want a genuine smile, make them laugh or give them a compliment. Don't forget to get the silly side too. Their personalities will come out if you let them. Make them feel comfortable and you will capture the cutest funny faces, wide grins, wrinkly noses and laughter. A photo with multiple children displaying their different personalities is priceless.
6. Camera settings.
Since children are unpredictable and fast moving, I use mostly automatic settings. When dealing with babies and toddlers who are going to move quickly or have flailing arms and legs, I use the TV mode and usually let my camera determine these settings for me. When shooting older children, who will usually hold still for me, I use the AV mode with my F stop to its lowest power to get those dreamy bokeh looks so that I will not have to fidget with my camera a lot. When photographing multiple children in this AV mode, make sure they are all on the same level plane. They need to be side-by-side, together on the same level so they are all in focus. If they are on different levels, adjust your f stop to be higher so your camera can adjust to this.
Practicing these simple tips can prepare you for an enjoyable photo session with less stress. Make your photo sessions fun so kids come back for more.
What are some of your favorite tips for photographing children? We'd love to hear!
I have been married for 10 years (in July) and am the mom to six amazing little blessings ages 7, 5, 4, 3, 1 and 3 months. I am a God-fearing, home-schooling, photography obsessed mom who makes...yes makes...her children take pictures everyday. I started my photography journey exactly two years ago and it has been such a great learning experience and start up business. It can get hard balancing being a mom, teacher, wife, disciple and photographer but the benefits outweigh the stresses. I specialize in family photography and newborns but enjoy weddings and engagement photography as well. Website | Facebook