Tuesday's Tip: How to get young children to take great photographs | CHATTANOOGA PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY

Getting young children to let you take their picture can be a challenge.  They have short attention spans (as do I lol!) and you can lose their attention really quick.  I LOVE children I feel we are at one with each other, because I feel like a big child!  My family says they don't know why, but children love me.  ummm. lol!  Of course they love me, cause I'm cool.  I've had the privilege to photograph 3 families of 4 recently all of which had children in the range of  6 months-4years old.  This is a challenge for any photographer and family when it comes to a photo shoot.  Having large families and 2 of those are young babies and tots can cause a lot of chaos if you're not careful.  This is why I am going to be giving you guys a few tips on how to handle the situation.  I'm not just talking to you photographers out there I'm speaking to the parents as well.

1. Watch how your family interacts with one another when you first get to the session

  • Some families are a little more close knit and lovey dovey as I like to call it.  While other families are more conservative and not as touchy feely lovey dovey.  The reason I say this is because watching them interact gives you a chance to feel out the poses or what you would like for them to do.
  • If the family is close knit and love to joke around you are going to get tons of great interaction and candid shots.  The smiles and laughter that you are going to get will make you feel joy deep down in your heart lol!  They are the easiest families to work with.
  • The conservative families will usually want more posey shots and are slightly harder to get out of the "cheese smiles".  How do you do this?  Easy do like me and trip and fall.  Works every time.  Or make fun of yourself.  They tend to loosen up and when they feel you are ok with them laughing at you and with you.  Soon after out comes the Natural fun smiles, laughter and interaction.
2. Are the children shy and reserved or hyper and attention seekers?
  • Shy and reserved children take a little work.  Normally what I do is let them feel me out without the camera.  9 times out of 10 once they decide you are cool they will loosen up.  
  • I usually say the first few photographs might not be your best.  Why?  Well you are just getting them used to the camera being in their face.  Let's face it a big camera in your face is intimidating. 
  • I try to see what grasps the child's attention when they interact with their parents.  Parent's do know how to get their children to laugh and be happy.  Watch them learn and and make it work for you.
  • Showing the child a photo you have taken of them really gets them excited then comes the laughter.  Come on now it's weird seeing yourself in a big plastic machine.  
  • Make noises, laugh obnoxiously, steal the child's nose, play peek a boo, etc.  All of these things really catch their attention quick.  I know I would laugh as someone who is acting stupid and making a fool of themselves.  
  • Hyper attention seeking children are also a task!  They are fun and full of laughter, but it's hard to keep them still and cooperative.  
  • With these types of children I really like to give them control.  By this I mean say something like "Do you think it would be awesome if we go over to flowers and take a picture?" Most of the time the will say yes.  They feel like they are the ones controlling the shoot when in reality you just told them where you wanted to go.  
  • The hyper child will eventually get tired and will give you a chance to get great portraits. 
  • One last thing for 3 months-1 year olds  I have found that KEYS are the key (pardon the pun lol).  They LOVE them.  If you want to grasp their attention bring out that secret weapon.  Works almost every time!
  • All of these tips can work for any type of child so just test it out.
3. The biggest tip of all is separate the child from the parents.  I don't mean take off and disappear that would be consider kidnapping. haha... 
  • Children seem to work better when they are not distracted by their parents.  Parents have the tendency to scold the child if they don't look at the camera or smile.  This really puts the child in an unpleasant mood and makes it hard to get the child to really participate.
  • Just ask the parents before hand or during the shoot that with moderation allow the child to be who they are.  As the photographer it's your job to get the child to cooperate.  
  • Take the child over to the side and just interact with them.  Ask them questions about their favorite things.  Ask if it's ok for you to take their picture.  Praise them when they take a great picture and smile really pretty.  Show them the photo you took.  I LOVE giving them high fives and they love it too.  It makes them feel like they are doing a good job.  
  • Sometimes the parents can be a great tool.  They can get the child to smile and laugh, but make sure there aren't too many people making crazy noises and is different places.  This distracts them and then they have NO idea what to do.  

Below are some shots from my latest shoot showing you the difference of having a child being tugged in different directions from everyone trying to get them to cooperate and then some shots where I took them to the side and it was one on one.  You will see the difference.

Now all of these photos a great of course the children look fantastic, but you can tell the difference in their moods.  You can also tell how well they cooperated when pulled aside look at the genuine smiles.

I hope you guys enjoyed the first tip!  I'm not much of a writer at all and probably made no sense most of the time.  Let me know what you think and what other tips you would love to see.

Make sure you check back on Friday for Freebie Friday.  I'm going to be giving away a Lightroom Preset I've recently created!
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this,
like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with
a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that,
this is great blog. A fantastic read. I'll certainly be back.

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