Doing a photo shoot with kids has the potential to be a fun and exciting experience or, on the other hand, an absolute nightmare. So much depends on the child’s mood, which can change in an instant from happy and relaxed to upset, angry, or sad. Child photography may have been intended to be a way to capture a precious moment in time, but it suddenly becomes a storm of temper tantrums with pictures being the last thing you want.
However daunting child photography might sound, it’s by no means impossible and can actually be incredibly fun and successful if done correctly. More than other photo shoots, you really have to take into account the individual personality of the child or children you’re hoping to photograph. With proper planning and careful attention to details, your next child photo shoot can be a fun success for everyone.
Prepare for the Action
Kids usually don’t like the unexpected. If you’re planning a particularly important photo shoot or perhaps there’s a big event coming up like a birthday where you know you’ll want to take photographs, it can be helpful to explain to your child about the pictures. Use age-appropriate language, maybe show them the camera, and maybe even turn it into a bit of a game. Kids like to have fun, so “playing” with the camera can be a good way to get them accustomed to having their picture taken. If they associate photos with fun and entertainment, they’re more likely to listen and be receptive to having their pictures taken in moments that matter.
There’s a Place for Bribes
While it’s not an ideal situation, sometimes you need a bit of an extra incentive when attempting a child photography. Whether it’s promising a favorite movie or going out for ice cream, having an initiative beyond the photos can help keep a child on track. This is especially good if the kids photo shoot involves a lot of posed images and seated shots. Kids can get tired of this quickly, but if you keep reminding them of the prize at the end, it’s more likely you’ll be able to see the photo shoot through to the end without any meltdowns.
Natural and True Smiles
One of the best things a photographer can capture is the unrestrained smiles and joy of young children. To get this pure emotion, you have to create a natural setting and not try to force the picture. Structure your family photo shoot to fit your child’s interests. Maybe they have a favorite swing at the park, or perhaps a certain boardgame they enjoy. Including these things in the pictures is both fun for the child and helps bring out the special emotion you’re hoping to capture.
It’s Hard to be Alone
Young kids, in particular, like to be around people who they know and trust. Asking a child to do something alone (such as pose for photographs) can be a challenge. Feeling singled out and awkward, a child can often become stubborn or even a bit frightened.
There are several ways to navigate this challenge. A simple solution is to do group photos, including family or friends in the photo shoot to make it a group activity. If you’re photographing siblings, you can structure the photo shoot in such a way that everyone feels included and no one is “above” or “below” another. If you’re hoping to get photos of your child alone, you can turn it into a game or fake posing for photos together to allow your child to feel more comfortable.
Get a Professional’s Advice
Getting tips from someone who has experience is priceless when it comes to child photography. Another option is to hire a professional photographer who can help you make sure that pictures with your children turn out well.
A traveler visiting Mauritius found a local photographer through Localgrapher, and had a successful experience with the photo shoot, even with a young child. “It was terrific working with Johny and team in Mauritius,” Bernie said. “I was worried about doing a photo shoot with a 13-month-old but the photographer did a great job and has kids himself so he had a few tricks up his sleeve. Johny was responsive and helped with all our inquiries and got the photos back to us in a timely manner. Thanks for the fun afternoon of photo taking and for capturing our Mauritius holiday memories. I’d highly recommend them.”
Take It Outside
A lot of kids enjoy being outside, and having more space can also be a good way to keep your kid distracted and entertained during the photo shoot. The great thing about child photography is how creative you can get with it. Does your child enjoy climbing trees? Do your photo shoot in a park with plenty of trees around for little monkeys to enjoy. Does your child like animals? Go to the local zoo where they can have fun looking at lions, kangaroos, and petting the bunnies and goats in the petting zoo.
Instead of trying to force your photo shoot, construct one that highlights your child’s individual personality. These photos will have more pure emotion in them anyway, and chances are your child will actually have fun taking pictures.
Young Words of Wisdom
Kids are creative and fun; to help them feel more comfortable and excited about doing a photo shoot, try including some of their ideas. Some things may be a bit far-fetched, but listening to some of the child’s requests can help make the entire photo shoot successful. It might end up being a give and take situation; sure, let your child wear a pair of goofy sunglasses for a few pictures, but then in exchange, they need to put on the sweater that grandma bought especially for the photo session. Hearing your child’s ideas for the photo shoot could also prove to make it more fun for everyone involved and result in genuine smiles and good energy.
Children grow up quickly, sometimes seeming to change from one day to the next as they mature. Getting photographs to capture the moments of childhood is important but comes with a set of challenges. Child photography can be both difficult, and incredibly rewarding, and if you go about it in a thoughtful and patient way, you’re certain to have success with your child photography endeavors.
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