Let’s be honest- kids can be tough to photograph. And when it’s a full-fledged photoshoot, it can be even harder to work with them. They get cranky, restless, and are difficult to instruct. However, parents love nothing more than to watch their little ones in bright photographs, all smiling and giggling.
Did you know that the average parent shares nearly 1500 pictures of their children before they even turn 5? So how do you manage to make a photoshoot session with kids easy? Here are some tips!
1. Prep first
Whether you’re photographing your own kids or any client, it’s necessary to prep first. Irrespective of where the shoot is going to take place (backyard, park, studio), there are two main preparatory items- food and sleep.
It sounds pretty obvious but many photographers fail to incorporate these two things. Make sure the children you’re photographing have eaten and slept well. This is a total game-changer because once they are full and well-rested, they are much less prone to tantrums or crankiness.
2. Familiarize the kid
The next important step is to make sure the kid in question gets friendly with the camera and other props. Don’t simply take out your camera and ask them to pose.
Instead, ask them their names, their hobbies, and make small talk with them. If a child sees that you’re friendly and cooperative, they will cooperate with you in return. After you get to know the kid a little, take out your camera and let them touch or feel it a bit.
Make sure none of the props is harmed and the child understands the basic workings of the photoshoot. If you’re photographing your own children, they might already be accustomed to the camera but even then, it’s wise to ensure that no kid is afraid of the shoot.
3. Be silly
If you’re going to be working with a child, you’ll have to understand things from their perspective. Many university courses on photography recommend their students be fun and playful with the kids. Ask them silly questions like, “Is mommy’s hair blue?” or “Does daddy have a purple nose?”. You can even incorporate your own ideas of fun, like playing peekaboo.
One trick that seems to work with kids is to first ask them not to laugh and then proceed to make a silly face. The secret to capturing such lovely smiles is to click right after they have broken into a grin. That is when their smiles are the most natural.
4. Make them interact with their siblings
Another great way to make the session easy is to have the children interact with their siblings. If the child being photographed doesn’t have one, you can ask them to interact with their other family members too. Ask them to play tickle monster or hop down the backyard holding hands. While you’re directing the children, don’t forget to stop clicking!
It’s always a good idea to ask the parents for permission first. Once they have given their nod, ask the siblings to wrestle playfully or lie side by side on the ground- you get the idea. You’ll see how lovely the pictures turn out to be through just a little bit of sibling-sibling interaction.
5. Encourage them to play
Many photographers have said that the most beautiful pictures of kids are when they’re busy playing. You can ask the child to play inside the house, in the yard, or anywhere where they are comfortable.
Ask them to jump as high as they can or discover unique things while playing. You can even ask them to hold the object up and click a picture of that. Try to treat the session like playtime instead of a chore so that managing the kid will be easier.
6. Give breaks
Children are often restless and hours of photoshoots are bound to make them cranky. So remember to give them as many bathrooms or food breaks as possible. This is especially important if the child is a toddler. If you see the child bored or frustrated, stop shooting for a few mins and let them wander around for a bit. You will also be able to take a breath of fresh air this way.
Over to you…
Working with kids is certainly not a very easy task but with the right kind of dedication and tricks, your photo shoot can turn out to be lovely!