As any parent who has ever tried knows, getting kids to pose for pictures can be a real, um (looking for the politically correct word here) challenge, no that’s not it, adventure, yes that’s better. It’s an adventure.
Among being our perfect little angels they are also, noisy, busy, very busy, dirty when you want them to be clean, happy, sad and mad all within two minutes, and surprisingly fast little buggers Usain Bolt has nothing on these guys. As a parent myself and knowing all of this I thought I would help all you parents out there and tell you my top 5 tips for getting great pics of your kids.
1. Personally, I think this is the most important tip of them all. Be Patient. The biggest mistake we can make as a photographer is believing we are in control of photographing the kids. These little baby bosses actually have all the power. If we rush them or push them to do what we want we end up with unhappy kids and no images or a few images of cheesy smiles and not the real personality of your child. My advice would be to let them run, let them play, be a goofball and play with them. Play some games with them or give them something to do that takes their minds off of being photographed. Maybe have them put on a little play for you but be prepared, which leads me to my next tip.
2. Be ready to shoot. Even though you’re playing with them or watching them play you don’t want to pass up any unexpected moments. These moments can happen in the blink of an eye so always be watching and have your camera in hand and ready to go. Better start doing some reflex exercises, moms. If you are going to shoot your kids you need to have cat like reflexes. Thinking Usain Bolt again.
3. I know it’s hard, but do not say cheese. From an early age, we are programmed to smile on cue at the word cheese. How many awful school pictures do we need to see before photographers stop using this word? Don’t believe me turn to your child right now and tell them to say cheese. They will look back at you probably like what the hell then give you their most phony plastic smile. Instead, mom or dad tell them a joke or make one up. If you have heard the jokes told by most young children you know you don’t need to be a Jerry Seinfeld to come up with one. Ask them if they want to hear a dirty joke when they say yes tell them two pigs fell in the mud. They are kids, to them this is funny. Tickles and funny faces work well too. On most occasions telling them they had better not smile or else will elicit a big grin.
4. Get down to their level. When taking pictures of your children most people make the mistake of shooting down on them. Try getting down where they are. Seeing the world from their point of view will lead to much better images of your child. Don’t be afraid to lay in the dirt or grass if that’s what it takes to get the shot. You will be glad you did.
5. Be yourself and let your inner child run free. If you’re going to photograph a kid you need to be a kid, at least in mind. Kids have an uncanny knack for picking up on bad or nervous vibes. If you are stressing guess what, they will be stressing. This all ties back into number one. As a kid DO: play, run, be silly, laugh, and sing your inner child will thank you. But DON’T: stress, try to be perfect, force them to do something they don’t want to, think you’re in control, or yell, again your inner child will thank you.
I hope these tips will help you take better pictures of your children, I would hate for you to miss those special moments that can happen on a day to day basis. But when you’re looking for a pro you know who to call, wink, wink.
Your Friendly Neighbourhood Photographer,