Have you ever had a photography session with a family of young children and you can tell the kids don’t want to be wearing the outfits that their Mom chose for them, they don’t want to smile and anything to get a good picture?
Well…. I have been photographing young children for over a year and a half now and I have learned a few tricks to help engage children and turn the dreadful family portraits into a fun family bonding day.
The following are some of my helpful tips:
Find a location that is safe. For instance, you don’t want to worry about little ones getting too close to a busy street or railroad track. It is also important to find a wide open space where the kids can run around while you are focusing on the parents or one child at a time. Kids don’t like to be bored, they like to explore and test boundaries. If you choose a location where they can do a little exploring and they can run around and have fun, chances are you will be able to capture some great shots.
I often opt for local public gardens and arboretums. At these locations, I have had luck getting so many unexpected pictures when the children don’t know you are photographing them. They are just being themselves and I will happen to get a genuine smile from them rather than telling them to say “cheese”. They are usually wide open with an array of different things to explore, and the backgrounds are always beautiful. You don’t have to position them directly in front of a beautiful flowering bush because chances are there are many flowering bushes nearby so you are guaranteed to get at least one in the background.
Bribery should not always be thought of as bad. Let’s face it, bribery works with kids. I usually go to the local Dollar Tree or Target and pick up a few random toys before a session. I have a vintage box that I call my treasure chest and bring it full of different goodies for all ages, to any session that will involve children. Before the session I will say something like this to the kids; “If you let me take a few pictures of your beautiful smiles with your siblings and parents then you each get to pick anything out of this treasure chest”. This little trick works wonders. Just the mystery of what’s in the box intrigues them.
Getting a child to be your “little helper” is another trick I use. I will ask them to help me with something. Kids will jump to help a new “friend” rather than their parents at home. For little ones I will ask if they want to help take a picture. I, of course hold the camera but I let them look through the view finder and take a picture, when I show them the picture that they took, they feel so proud that they got to help. Every now and then, those pictures turn out pretty well!Posing:
Everyone knows that they are supposed to smile when someone points a camera in their direction and is told to say “cheese”. I’m all for getting a smile but there is something about a “cheese” smile versus a real genuine, happy smile.
Thanks to Jessica Rivera for today’s guest blog post!
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