Photographing children can really be a challenge, but with a few simple techniques you can get through the session with some smiles and beautiful pictures. Here are 10 tips that have helped me to photograph children that I know will bring you success as well.
1. Establish relationship Be Confident, outgoing when you meet them especially if you have never seen them before. Try and establish a playful friendship so that they will feel comfortable around you. Talk to them for a few minutes before, they are more scared of you then you are of them:)
2. Give Rewards From the moment you meet, he/she let them know that there is something in it for them if they cooperate. Of course you need to make sure with the parents that it’s ok first. If you bring props you can let them take home one of the props when you are done. If not bring a lollipop or something small. They will want to do well to get the reward.
3. Ask Questions Ask them a few simple questions. What is your name, favorite color? If elementary age ask if they have a boyfriend/girlfriend in school to get that innocent, embarrassed, giddy look.
4. Use Props A Good prop is a great distraction which will enable you to get closer, anything that will enhance your vision for the shoot. Lollipops, Hats, balloons, toys, necklaces…etc
5. Play Most children cannot stay in a pose for very long, So then just PLAY. Peek-a-boo, hide and seek, boo, make funny faces, anything that will get them comfortable and allow you to capture smiles. If your so bold bring a little noise maker (beeps, shouts) that makes funny sounds and play it every once in a while to get a reaction. Move around as they play to photograph real moments.
6. Use Positive reinforcement If you ask them to stand in a particular spot for a moment and they do well. Praise them. Great Job! You’re awesome! You’re so pretty/handsome! Give me high-five. This works well especially with siblings. The other siblings waiting to be photographed will want the positive attention from you too and will most likely do what you ask.
7. Comfortable poses with objects Poses are comfortable when there is a barrier or something to lean on. It automatically takes away some of the fear the child may have and may invite a spirit of play. If they are cooperative suggest games with an object, tree, bench or etc, and encourage objects to be a part of the picture.
8. Can You See? If you are running out of options and you need a few more shots. Ask them if they can see your eyeball in through your lens. Make a silly game out of it. When they look up into your lens you might find that perfect candid shot.
9. Third Party Assistance Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from the parents. They can play, sing songs, make faces with them behind your back as you are shooting to get real time expressions
10. Looking Down Some photographers say that when shooting children you should get down on his/her level. That is a great angle but I also like to use a higher angle and shoot down as well. It can give it a creative edge.
Be creative with the tips and make them your own. Have FUN and Happy Shooting!