I’m often asked how I manage to get great pictures of children in my family portraits, and it’s true that kids can sometimes be tricky to capture on camera. But it is possible, with a little expert knowledge. So, next time you’re taking a picture of your little ones, here are my top tips for getting the greatest photos you can!
Children are unpredictable at the best of times, but when you want to take a photograph of them they tend to have one of three reactions…
a – “No! I don't want my photo taken!” Usually followed by acting like a diva superstar to ruin any photos you might snap anyway
b - They strike a sassy pose
c - You get that goofy grin or a silly face
This is where the patience comes in. You just have to hang around and capture them being natural by playing and interacting with them. Take the pressure off so they don’t even realise you’re planning to take a picture.
2. Be prepared to do something stupid
By this, I mean act the fool - pull faces, pretend to fall over and do anything to make them laugh. You could also get them to make silly faces for you and capture those - after all your child has a great personality so why not encourage it?
At a recent mini session on the beach to get the shot I wanted I went into the sea with the children in question! I don't like wet sand and it was pretty cold- but the resulting image was of two little girls laughing their heads off because I was soaked and this picture was worth any temporary discomfort for me.
3. Be ready!
Kids are unpredictable, so you have to be ready to capture a fantastic shot if the opportunity arises. Always have your camera to hand and be aware of what’s going on so you can snap away when the time comes. You might also benefit from eyes in the back of your head….
4. Get down to their level
So many times I see photos of children that are taken from above, from an adult’s height, making them look all out of proportion. Children aren't that tall, so by coming down to their level you get an accurate record of them - be prepared for getting stuck though - the ole knees aren't what they were!
5. The child is in charge!
You are never going to fully be in control of a session photographing a child so don’t try to be. Don't try to make them do stuff - they won't if you tell them to and are more likely to play ball if you tell them they can’t do something!
Don’t yell at them - they definitely won't be cooperative this time or ever again and you'll be upset that you didn't get what you wanted.
Don’t expect them to follow your plan.
Do make it fun - it’s not about going for a perfect photo, it’s about getting a great photo and if you make it fun you’ll get that wonderful memory captured.
Do go with the flow - it’ll be much calmer and much more enjoyable for all of you
6. Please don’t ask them to say ‘cheese’ unless you want an uncomfortable goofy grin.
7. Be sneaky! Let them play and be themselves and take shots when they aren't looking at you - that way you will capture them in their natural state.
8. Use props. Whether that’s a bucket and spade, bubbles to blow, a ball, a favourite toy or something like streamers and balloons. Anything that will delight and distract your children so you can take some great shots.