Are you ready to get outdoors and start capturing moments with your children that you can hang on your wall, put in an album, or simply share on social media? However, you’re meeting roadblocks, setbacks, and photos that leave you feeling uninspired? Keep reading for 6 of my favorite tips for photographing kids sure to level up your game.
Photograph Kids as They are NOT as You Want Them
Embrace what they love. For two solid years, my son wore his fireman outfit almost every day. For our Christmas photos, a lovely grey sweater and a red scarf would have been great, but we rolled with his fireman outfit for almost every captured image for quite a while.
Shortly after the fireman outfit phase ended, he wore a tie-dyed cap and shorts for weeks on end.
Could I have strong-armed him into some traditional photos and regular clothes? Yes, but that would have broken his heart a bit, and knowing my son made for some grumpy images. I want to remember him the way he is right now. Goofy, full of life and joy.
It’s a Win-Win. When we let kids express themselves as they are, they enjoy the photos, and as parents, we get great moments like these.
Eat First and Pack Snacks and Water
Seriously pack ALL the snacks. While you’re at, pack a snack for you as well. This might be the most over looked advice when we talk tips for photographing kids.
I’ve seen some parents hold out dinner until AFTER the photos and food becomes a bribe. Have you ever tried to do anything hungry? It’s not a good situation. Ensure everyone is full and happy before starting any photo session and pack snacks and water if someone needs a break.
Throw Away the Posing Guides and Shut Down Pinterest When Photographing Kids
Yes… I said it. If you’re already struggling a bit with getting photos of your children, then forcing them into poses that worked for someone else isn’t your best bet. Kids don’t like to be coerced into ANYTHING. Guides and Pinterest are fantastic, but they often give us unrealistic expectations of what we can expect from our children.
Instead of letting other people’s success guide your sessions, follow your child’s lead. There will be times when they are ready to attempt that cool pose you saw on Pinterest (trust me on this) but right now might not be the season and that’s OK. In fact it’s probably better than OK that they value their own creative expression over subscribing to standards.
Photograph Kids at Their Level
An effortless way to take a photo from blah to story-telling magic is to look a child in their eye. Going to a child’s level may mean sitting on the ground or laying in the grass to meet them eye to eye. So, be ready to get a bit dirty. Try taking your photos from the vantage point of your child. I promise it will give them an instant connection and boost.
Speak to Them not AT Them
Ask FOR and USE their ideas. Even the three-year-olds who only want you to take a photo of a cool stick they are holding. Do you need to keep every photo you take? Absolutely not, but when you make them feel heard, involved, and excited in the process, it will show in the images you capture.
The No 1 Tip for Photographing Kids, Keep it Fun and Know When to Call it Quits.
OK so maybe that’s two things but they sort of go together. Remember to keep any photo session fun and light-hearted. Whether it’s with a photographer or you’re venturing out on your own, keeping the time positive and fun is the most important thing you can do. You’re going to be following your child around clicking pictures for years to come. Make sure to set the tone that it’s enjoyable, low pressure, and light-hearted.
I hope you’ve found these tips for photographing kids helpful and encouraging as you think about your next photo session. If you’ve tried any of these, or have your own tips, let me know in the comments below or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on getting kids outdoors and taking photos, check out this post where I get brutally honest about this struggle.