Wedding, Portrait, and Lifestyle Photography in Charleston, SC

Mission Impossible: Photographing Kids

Okay. So photographing kids is hard sometimes. It just is. Kids, of any age but especially the younger ones, have plans of their own when it comes to the day of their photo shoot. That is why I haven’t done many photo shoots with my own daughter. When people hear I’m a photographer and I shoot a lot of children sessions, they always say how great it must be to be able to take great photos of my own daughter whenever I want, and for free! I always just laugh because it is the complete opposite actually.

My own little girl has always had a mind of her own and whatever I want her to do, she wants to do the complete opposite. When she was real small, I would really try to take the time and dream up the perfect session for her. Every little detail was planned and I was always so excited to get a day off so I could get my daughter’s session done. And without fail, every time my sweet child would get my hopes up by being the perfect little model for one shot then would breakdown and start screaming. Or she would refuse to look at the camera and kept making her silly monkey face. Or she would run away causing me to have to chase her, while leaving all of my equipment and confidence behind.

It was so frustrating but I was persistent. Literal blood, sweat, and tears came as a result of my venture to get the photos I wanted of my daughter, but through it all I learned a great deal on how to make all children sessions less stressful and more fun AND I got a great session of my daughter completed too! 1   12 15 This photo session was done when my daughter just turned two years old. THE TERRIBLE TWOS. Of all the times I have tried to get pictures of her during since she was born, I assumed two year old photos would be the most difficult. But by just remembering some of the lessons I learned from her earlier and less successful photo shoots, this time everything went so smoothly and everybody was happy! 10 2 So here are a few tips to help you get through some of your difficult children sessions: 1. Engage with your little models from the very start. Instead of just talking with the parents and asking them questions, engage with the children from the very start. Ask them children questions, tell jokes, and just talk to them. This will not only help relax the children and get them to take directions from you better, but you will get some of those great candid photos everyone loves! 3 14 2. Try distraction. If your little one is not interested in what you are trying to get them to do, or even if they are in full meltdown mode, try to distract them by having them focus on something else like a fun prop or something cool off in the distance. 6 7 18 13 3. Change location. Even us adults get tired at looking at the same thing for a long period of time. If you are losing the child’s attention or they are getting fussy, try moving to a different spot and getting some photos there. Something as small as new trees to look at or some cars passing may be enough to get everything back on track for you. 17 4. Take a break. Sometimes you just need to stop what you are doing and have fun for a bit. Play with the kids for a couple minutes, get them to laugh, and start again. You had a chance to regroup and figure out your next step, and the little models had a chance to play and stop “working” for a bit. 11 9 5. Show the children some of the photos you are taking. This is a big one for my daughter. She loves looking at pictures of herself and it gets her excited to see some more. I have found that after I show her some photos, she is eager to start modeling again for me and gives me some great shots. 6. And when all else fails, bribe. I know, I know…not the best lesson to teach children. But when you are really, really desperate I say go for it! Just an M&M or sucker in exchange for some cooperation from my daughter goes a long way.

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