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7 Tips and Tricks for Photographing Children
The beauty of shooting children is capturing them in their most natural form, the way they are, and the best shots are often impromptu. I mean, very, FAST ! Kids, especially who are five or under, pretty much dictate how the photography sessions will unfold. Therefore, prepping is very important, however, you need to be open to forgetting all of the prep and just going with the flow.
We will share 7 tips and tricks for photographing children that will hopefully help you during your photoshoot.
7 tips & tricks
7 tips and tricks for photographing children below ⇓
- Embrace something they love.
We suggest having a chat with the parents first to find out if there is a location that the child particularly loves to go to. Whether it’s the forest, park, playground or maybe loves a costume foreplay. Knowing these places will help guide the photo sessions location and help the child feel more comfortable during the shoot.
Few places we can recommend:
- Hylands park – Chelmsford
- Greenwich park – Greenwich
- Hyde park – Central London
- Epping forest – Epping
- The hill garden & perfola – Hamstead heath
- Bring along props – even if you don’t end up using them.
Don’t forget to find out what activities their child would prefer, perhaps it’s art? Then bring along some finger paint, paper and tissues. Or perhaps their son loves their stuffed toys? Why not bring their favourite toy for them to play with and encourage the child to take photos with it. You can even play along that they will have separate shoots, so do one for the toy and one for their child.
Having props during the photo session will ensure there are options to entertain the child if they don’t particularly feel comfortable. It will definitely make them more comfortable in front of the camera as they will have a place or something familiar to play with.
For example, we brought a old suitcase brief with a teddy, blanket and some books as it was baby Trojus first photoshoot outdoors. He was nervous at first but with the comfort of his mum, we were able to capture those curious and happy moments.
- A playful approach – Don’t make them pose, make them play instead! Peek-a-boo is a perfect example of how to capture a smiling face with young kids effortlessly!
Trying to get a child to pose for photos is difficult, in fact we prefer not to do that and instead play along with them, which delivers great candid moments. It’s important to make them comfortable first before you get stuck in. Speak gently, go along with what they are doing, whether they are running or sitting, mirror them. You can ask them questions, make a funny comment, which should get them to feel at ease soon. They will start moving around and you’ll be able to capture real joy and emotions whilst they play.
Here are few examples how you can interact with kids:
- Ask them about their favourite food. If you have sweets, why not share this with them.
- If they are not comfortable with the camera, teach them how to use the camera and in turns you can take photos of each other.
- Play hide and seek. This works great with the little ones.
- Play musical chairs except without the chairs. Dance together and capture those moments of joy.
- Run them out !
Another tip and trick to photographing children is to run them out, so they get a little bit tired and settle down. Other times, we work with kids who have loads of energy and there’s no stopping them at all! In that case, we allow their adventurous side to kick in and photograph the candid moments. This is also a great workout which definitely works as they burn off some of their energy, the upcoming moments are more tranquil and make for beautiful portraits.
Once they are more settled you can try and set them up in a chair and give them a job to do. Be sure to have a spotter or be close by to ensure everyone is safe when using a chair.
- Include a friend.
They will play and have so much fun, they barely notice us! If your child is particularly shy or afraid of new situations, we would definitely recommend to include a friend in the shoot. Having someone familiar the child forgets about their surroundings and usually just starts playing with each other. Once they are settled, we can then ask to capture them individually and encourage them to for example take photos of each other. In all other cases we find that kids almost always will work for chocolate so keep this trick close to your heart when thinking about photographing children.
- Always be ready to capture. Only look back on your photos to check your lighting.
Probably one of the biggest tip for photographing children is that you have to be ready for anything! As they say…Expect the unexpected and be ready to press that button like your life depends on it ! Hahaha.
There have been times where I needed to change the camera battery, and the sunlight came out and created absolutely beautiful shadows. I probably have never changed a battery that fast before ! Or when I wanted to look at the images and say the cutest smile ever as the child was laughing from the ducks. These are the moments that you don’t want to miss. One minute they may be crying but the next laughing their heads off.
So learn to anticipate what might happen during the child’s photography session. Have the right lens and ensure your settings are all good before the shoot. Move fast and enjoy your photoshoot.
- Let them be the photographer – One of my go-to strategies is to let THEM be the photographer.
I mentioned this earlier, however, we feel this needs its own section. This works great for 18 months and up and sometimes even younger ones want to play along! I hold it and let them push the button on my camera to take a picture of their parents or siblings, and then I get a turn to take a picture of them.
From my photoshoot with Domukas, he particularly liked this one and worked really well. We took loads of photos of the scenery and were able to take some photos of him, he was so excited to see his own pictures! This turned out to be a great game throughout the session.
We hope that the 7 tips and tricks for photographing children will become handy during your shoots.
Looking for some inspiration, children’s photoshoot ideas? Have a look at our photography work below.