Bradenton Family Photographer | Top 10 tips for Pictures with Kids!
As a Family Photographer here in Bradenton, I'm the first to admit that getting the perfect picture can be more than a little bit tough when it comes to capturing kids. Over the years, I've learned lots of tricks to make sure that you bring out their personalities and get that perfect picture every time. I use these tricks at all my Family Photo Sessions. Now, I'm going to share them with you. From toddlers to teenagers, kids don't always want to cooperate when it comes to pictures, and that's normal. Some think it's going to be "boring," some are too shy to smile at the camera, and some are just your run-of-the-mill wild crazy kiddos who want to do ANYTHING but stand still. Whether you're a parent or a photographer, the tips that follow are practically guaranteed to help you break through the cranky, the grumpy, the shy, the wild and the unwilling, to find the smiles, the great poses, and the perfect pictures to make your Family Pictures a success!
#1. Introduce yourself! This seems like such a little detail, but it's so important for getting off on the right foot with kids. As photographers, most of us go straight for the grown-ups in the group, which makes sense, they are the ones paying us for this session after all.. But while you're chatting with the parents, the kids are standing off to the side feeling left out and starting to get bored. You'd be amazed what a difference it makes when you take a moment to show the kids that they matter too. Introduce yourself to them and show some interest to make them feel important. Ask them about school or how they're feeling about taking pictures today. If they feel like they know you and like you're interested in them, they'll be 100% more likely to look right at the camera when it matters most!
#2 Get down on their level. This is super important with toddlers and elementary aged kids. When you stand at your full height, towering from above them, with your big camera hiding your face, you strike quite an intimidating figure. Bend those knees! Get down on their level by squatting, kneeling, sitting, or even laying on your tummy. Not only is this a better way to relate to kids and get them to interact with you and trust you, you'll also get much better angles of those little faces from this lower perspective
#3 Get Silly!! Yes, I mean YOU, photographers! Do what ever it takes to get those eyes your way and make them flash that genuine smile. Goofy faces, knock knock jokes, fart noises, nothing should be off the table! Say good bye to your pride, and hello to laughter!
#4 Take Breaks. I know you paid for an hour session and you want to take advantage of every minute, but lets give those kids a few much needed moments here and there to play without the pressure of the camera. I promise it'll make them more willing participants when we call them back. I take advantage of these moments to get some great pictures of Mom and Dad by themselves, or to talk more about how your pictures will be delivered. Breaks are great for getting out energy and really help kids to be more cheerful and willing to sit still when when the time comes for it.
#5 Make it FUN! Who says Family Photo Sessions have to be boring?! No way! Make sure everyone has fun at the session by doing more than just plain old posed photos. Take jumping pictures, tell silly jokes, let the kids in on a secret (funny) picture that Mom and Dad don't know about! Better yet, let the kids come up with an idea they'd like to do for the next photo! One of my favorite photos to keep things fun is to let the kids in on a little secret just between them and me: In the next photo, I'm going to have Mom and Dad stand behind you... When I tell them to KISS, I want you to pretend it's super gross!! Kid LOVE this shot, and it let's them feel like they are in control. All of these ideas are sure to keep the kids smiling, and get some laughs out of parents too!
#6 Let the Photographer get the kids attention. Mom and Dad, this is SO important. When we're taking pictures of the whole family at once, and your kids don't want to cooperate and look at the camera, let the photographer be the one to try and get their attention. If you're looking down at them, telling them to look at the camera, or stand up straight, or getting frustrated at them because you think they're going to ruin the family pictures again this year, then when they finally look up, for just a fraction of a second, and I capture the picture, it's you who's not looking at the camera now. Let us work at getting their attention, even if it takes a moment, it will help every one stay relaxed. You just keep smiling at the camera and when your child finally looks up at me and flashes that smile, you'll be ready too and we'll capture the perfect family picture!
#7 Let them play.
You're out at the beach, the sun is shining, everyone's ready for the family picture, but the toddler is just not having it. She doesn't want to be held, she doesn't want to look at the camera, and she certainly doesn't want to stand still. It's her first time to the beach and all she wants to do is play in the sand. You're about 30 seconds away from a major melt down and you've got exactly two options: 1- Take your family pictures with a crying/grumpy/belligerent child, or 2- Let her get down an play! No question, let her play!! Let her explore the beach and we'll get pictures of REAL moments or your child in their element, learning, growing, interacting, and letting that little personality shine through!
#8 Let them explore your camera. OK photographers, I know it sounds terrifying, but trust me on this one. When you're faced with a child who's shy, pre-determined that pictures are going to be no fun, or simply starting to get bored despite all your other efforts, this is a sure win when it comes to getting them more interested in taking pictures. Yes, the idea of sticky fingers near your equipment can be a bit frightening, but keep some hand sanitizer and a few tissues in your bag, clean those little hands, and let them come explore your gear. They'll feel SO special, and once they've had a chance to look through the lens and take a few pictures of their own, they'll be excited to get back in front of the camera again.
#9 Don't be above bribery!
You know your child, and you know what motivates them. If you suspect that the family photo session is going to be difficult, promise them a special treat for making it through the hour on good behavior! A trip to the ice cream shop, some time on Mom's phone, a slurpee on the way home, or a trip to the playground after the session can all be great motivators. Little reminders about the promised reward go a long way toward helping your kids keep up a good attitude. Photographers, you can give this one a try too. "Common buddy, help me out with some smiles for this picture and I'll let you have a turn with the camera next!" (See, I told you letting them check out the camera could come in handy.) This is another place in life (for parents and photographers both) to let that pride go out the window and do what it takes to make the session a success.
#10 Have FUN!!! Yes, parents and photographers, I'm talking about you, not just the kids! Relax, and don't get frustrated when things don't go quite according to plan. Follow the kid's lead, and have fun right along with them! If one idea isn't working, ditch it, and move on to something that gets everyone more excited! If you're feeling stressed, rushed, or frustrated, the kids are going to feel that too and their attitude will follow. If you let yourself relax and have a great time, laugh and be silly, the kids are going to feed off of that and there will be laughter all around!
If you'd like Sandhill Photography to capture your Family Pictures or a special landmark in your life, Contact us for an Appointment!
At Sandhill Photography, it's our pleasure to capture all the most special moments in your life. We offer Engagement Sessions, Wedding Photography Packages, Maternity and Newborn Sessions, and Family Photography. We are based in Bradenton, Florida, and service the Sarasota, Tampa, and St. Pete areas. Photographer Emma-Rose would love to help you capture memories to last a lifetime. Book your Photography Session today with Sandhill Photography and don't let another one of life's amazing moments pass you by!