It’s Valentine’s so what does a mom-photographer do? Set up a Valentine session with her own kiddos of course! It may seem like I can get your kids to smile and react great with the camera but when it comes to my own kids they. are. done.
As you might imagine from being photographer kids they are not always fond of having the camera pointed at them at any given moment and especially not if they have to actually stand still and look at it! However difficult it may be to photograph my own kids, I have come up with a few things that often make our session go smoothly. If you are wanting to get some pictures of your own children keep these tips in mind:
1) If you photograph your children regularly or daily but have a special “session” you are looking forward to, give the kiddos a break from the camera for a few days beforehand, maybe even a few weeks if they’re particularly ornery when the camera comes out. It’s amazing how a little break from seeing that black thing pointed at them can refresh their cooperation and you may even *gasp* hear them say, “Mommy can you take a picture of me?” It’s true – I’ve had that happen a time or two!
2) Treats and incentives are key! You may already bribe your children to take a picture (generally our parenting-style doesn’t include bribery, but when it comes to pictures it’s all or nothing baby!). What I find works better than a promised extra candy or more tv/video game/whatever your kid is into time is an actual treat that can work itself into the session such as a Valentine lollipop they can enjoy while you are shooting.
3) In real estate you hear the term, “Location, location, location!”, well in children’s photography I would say, “Props, props, props!”. Kids love to have something to sit on, stand on, jump off of, and play with. How much more cooperative do you think a little girl would be to twirl a pretty ruffled parasol for a photo instead of standing still in a field? Don’t get me wrong, I definitely prefer natural images in my photography style but a well chosen accessory or prop for the right type of session can really turn a so-so session into an amazing (and fun) one! For example, my kids had a blast with some fun red glasses and a little red wagon that both worked into our Valentine session perfectly!
4) Skip the cheese and go straight toward the singing (or Sing-A-Ma-Jig to be precise)! I do love a nicely posed image with children looking and smiling, but my favorite images are not the ones with their smiles as big as can be while they’re saying “Cheeeeeese!” I prefer more relaxed smiles and absolutely adore natural laughter images that I find can often be found when I pull out one of my silly Sing-A-Ma-Jigs. I picked a couple of these up for $5 a year or two ago and they make these super strange noises when you squeeze them that always seem to crack the kids up! Find a silly toy that your kids don’t see often and you know will give them the giggles and you’re sure to have few natural smiles to capture!
5) Last but not least….relax and just go with it! I will admit I am guilty of getting frustrated and uptight with my kids when they won’t do what I want (sit, stay, smile – just kidding…kind of), but it’s usually when I decide to relax and go with what is happening that the best images (and memories) are made. You’ll see in this recent session that when the kids decided to tickle each other or chase each other around with the wagon that I was able to capture some of my favorite images of the day and by going with it I hope that they left with some good and fun memories of our session to add to the images we will cherish for years.
I hope these tips will come in handy in making your next session with your kids a success and I’d love to hear and tips you have by leaving a comment! Now here is some of what we ended up with from our little session: