As a portrait and family photographer, I know that photographing children of any age can be both rewarding and tricky at times. While children can bring joy and spontaneity to a family shoot, they can also be slightly unpredictable and easily distracted, which I totally understand! So after years of shooting with countless families I have come up with my top pro tips to help you at your next family session!
Be As Prepared As Possible
Prior to the session, it's crucial to communicate with the parents and ask about the child's
interests, favorite toys, and any special needs or concerns. This can help you tailor the session to
the child's individual personality and make them feel more comfortable and relaxed during your time together.
Bring Props (Or Candy)
Props can be a great way to engage with the kids and keep them focused or redirect their attention during a photo shoot. Simple and fun items like bubbles, balloons, and stuffed animals can add a playful element to the photos and make the child feel more at ease. Referring back to your conversations with the parents will help you decide what props are best! If all else fails, I always make sure to have some age appropriate candy in my camera bag just in case!
Get Down to Their Level
When photographing children, it's important to get down to their eye level to capture their
perspective and make them feel more comfortable. When you are eye level with kids the chances of getting them to look directly at you increase ten-fold! It can also help you create more intimate and emotional photos that capture the child's unique personality and character while they interact with you!
Use Natural Light
Natural light can be a great way to create soft and flattering photos that really highlight a child's unique features. When shooting outdoors, try to look for areas with soft, diffused light like an area with a lot of shade because let's face it most kids really can't continue to keep their eyes fully open in direct and bright sunlight for long. I mean who can blame them?
Take Breaks When Needed
Children can have short attention spans, so it's important to take breaks during the photo shoot
to allow them to rest and recharge a bit in between poses and locations. This can also give you an opportunity to review the photos and make any necessary adjustments to the shoot before wrapping up...AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD make sure their eyes are in focus! Nothing is worse than finding a killer shot on the back of your camera only to realize someone's eyes are out of focus in every good photo on your computer.
Be Patient, Flexible And Candid
Finally, the most important part-be patient and flexible during the session! Kiddos can sometimes be unpredictable and may not always cooperate so it's very important to have a relaxed and positive attitude for them to pick up on and hopefully mimic. Sometimes I even (gently) remind parents to keep their energy as level as possible because kids don't let the energy around them go unnoticed. Be flexible enough to try new poses or locations along the way if the child is not responding well to the original plan. Life happens and that is okay! Just have fun with it and don't forget to be silly for a smiling kid!