I get asked almost daily how I get my boys to take photos. The truth is, it takes a lot of trial and error and not everyday is going to be perfect especially if you have young kids. I will share with you some of the secret weapons I’ve learned over the past 7 years that I use at my photo sessions and with my own kids.
Sitting down: I have a 2.5 year old that always want to be on the move no matter what I want him to do so getting him to sit down for photos can be a challenge. What I have learned is smarties is key. I can get him to sit still for at least one shot if I give him a couple smarties to munch on. sometimes they make into the photo but HEY its real life. Giving a child something to play with like a book, toy or something from nature in the location your at can help keep a child occupied. Playing peek a boo or singing a song works great too. For older kids, you can talk about what they are into like a sport or if they have a favorite superhero let them talk to you about it, ask them questions.
Let them be little: I prefer the candids over the super posed images and letting the kids do their own thing makes them happy. Sometimes you just have to go with it. It may not be what you envisioned, but sometimes the best photos are the ones not planned.
Do things together: Get in the photo with them and do things you do together in real life. Not only does this tell a story of your real life moments and capturing a memory of you with them, but it also can help a child to feel more at ease to be photographed.
Real Life: Capture them in real life. Not every moment is perfect, but the moment may just tell the perfect true story.
Play: A child at play makes some pretty awesome photos. I love capturing my kids doing things they love to do like playing basketball or swinging. It captures them in their element and happy place… and it is a great memory to look back at what they used to do as a child.
Things of comfort: Allowing a child to have something that comforts them or they like to hold on too can really help them to cooperate for photos. Ask them to show you what they have and why they like that particular item. Having a conversation with them if they can talk can make a world a difference when taking a child’s photo. Don’t want the item in the photo? I will . take whatever the item is as the photographer/mom and do something silly with it like put it on my head.
and if all fails… BRIBERY is a word you must come to familiarize yourself with. Somedays if I want a photo that bad, yes I bribe with candy, cookies, and milkshakes.
The art of photographing your own kids or other kids takes practice and patience. My advice is go in with no expectations and just go with it. There are plenty of times I have found this picture perfect photo I wanted to try to do but then I go to recreate it and it ends up in disaster because the kids weren’t into it. Your kids are different than others kids and like different things so don’t go in with great expectations for this picture perfect photo session.
Just let them be who they are and find the things that make them happy to take photos. If you stress doing photos, They will stress too. So turn up the music, get the toys and candy out and just do it.