Photographing children can be challenging, to say the least. In this post we will dive into how to make your family portraits and children’s portraits better. The good news- as a photographer I’ve found it to be much easier to photograph other people’s children rather than my own. The last thing mine want to do is pose for me, they are sick of it by now.
# 1 The Energy
If you have small children, you know that they have an endless supply of energy at times. Often, parents want their children to sit still and pose for a photo. It seems simple enough, but I’ve found that letting kids be kids, whether it be playing with a toy or running can create some great images. Inevitably the child runs the show, so I just try to keep up.
# 2 Movement
Incorporating movement into children portraits can be an awesome way to let kids run out some of their energy and to allow them to feel comfortable, after all the last thing they want to do is sit still. If kids like to run, I run with them. This keeps me young!
# 3 Give Them Choices
Allowing children to be a part of the process lets them know they have choices. I often suggest a client bring a few outfits, toys, books, etc. Once we get started I’ll find out what their interests are to suggest things to incorporate into the photo session. Quite often it is something we find along the way. On more than on occasion we’ve stopped for a stick, flower and puddles.
# 4 Get Down on Their Level
Don’t be afraid to get on the ground. Getting down to eye level with a child can mean the difference between good and great photos. Kneeling or laying on the ground allows you to connect with them even better while keeping them engaged with you and the camera. Ultimately it is the connection between you and them that you will capture, if done correctly this is what helps capture the essence of them.
# 5 Interactions
Genuine interactions between the family and child is the best for wonderful expressions. Holding hands and walking, hugs and kisses, tickling and chasing each other are a few ways to get children relaxed enough that you capture them as they are. Interactions between photographer and child can go a long way too. I vividly remember a session where the young lady was shy and standoffish at first. I took some time to ask her questions and tell me about herself. When she wanted to explore different things, I simply went along. When she wanted to run, I ran with her. Thirty minutes later she wanted to hold my hand.
# 6 Make it fun!
Laugh, smile and make it fun for yourself and the family. When shooting outdoors there are endless ways to have fun. Blowing bubbles, climbing trees and getting messy are always fun things to do. Let’s face it, most kids like to get dirty. Not every photo has to be staged and uptight- sit here, tilt your head, stay still, chin up, chin down, bla bla bla. Depending on the client’s wants, the most memorable images are the ones that aren’t planned and just having fun. If all else fails, capture the moment as it unfolds, naturally.
Photographing children takes a certain kind of patience. I am very patient and a kid at heart, so I find it very easy to do. Throw all your cares away for an hour and enjoy the moment you’ve been given. Best of luck to you when photographing children! If you find it easier to hire someone to take care of everything above, contact Doug Burke Photography to setup your family session today.