Aw, taking your children’s photos? Easy. It’s a snap. No prob.
Have you seen that deodorant commercial where the child photographer is trying to get the kids to smile, to look her way, to stop fidgeting? It’s cute and funny and totally valid. Family photos are, in two words, hard work. But have no fear. It’s also very, very fun.
I like photographing my siblings. I love the smiles, the laughs, the sweet poses. But, frankly, a child photoshoot (unless you have well-behaved, older kids or little ladies and gentlemen) isn’t easy, and you’ll end up with a bazillion photos that aren’t worth showing. Period.
The key to a semi-good family photoshoot is to expect (and accept) the unexpected. Otherwise, you’ll get frustrated, and nobody wants to see a frustrated photographer. It won’t make them want to come back for more. Your babies will cry (or drool) when you definitely don’t want them to; the toddler will want to go off and do his own thing; the boys will think it’s fun to push and shove; and, yes, you’ll need to improvise. A lot.
My two-year-old brother loves to see the photos on the camera, point to himself and say “me! me!” If you’re photographing shy children (or if the child doesn’t want to do anything but run around), show them their photos. They’re prone to be more comfortable after seeing themselves, and will probably smile more. Compliment the little girl (“You have such a pretty smile.” “I love your sparkly dress.”). Little girls usually want to feel like princesses, so tell them how pretty they are. Boys like to feel grown-up, manly and tough. They may not stand still as much as most girls, so give them something to do.
Kids weren’t meant to sit still for extended periods of time. It’s okay to let them move. Let them do their own thing for a few minutes. They are allowed to make funny faces, pose themselves, and try to scare you with their best freaky faces. That’s what kids do, so let them do it. Cut them some slack…Everyone except Adam and Eve was once a kid.
Child Photography isn’t so bad once you accept the fact that the perfect plan won’t work. You just have to get in there and be patient. Keep your camera ready, take a lot of photos, and don’t worry. This is about making memories, not getting the perfect smile.