As parents ourselves, we know that things can get pretty out of hand when children are involved. Nothing ever goes as planned but more often than not, it is exactly that unpredictability that makes the spontaneous moments that we remember for years and make up for the stories that continue to haunt them as we retell them at family gatherings.
Photographing children can be quite daunting for unseasoned photographers. Most children do not like posing for the camera and get easily distracted by their surroundings and that can be difficult for photographers to capture the moment as everything is unraveling way too fast. So out-of-focus and blurry pictures are often common when it comes to photographing kids.
Having learned, played and photographed thousands of babies, toddlers, children and teenagers, we can confidently say that we are quite the pro when it comes to children photography.
So today we are going to share with you some insider tips and insights on how to ace it.
Children comes in all shapes, sizes and behaviours. You can consider yourself lucky if you get to work with children who take instructions easily but in most cases it is hardly the case – they are children. And the best thing about children is, they don’t follow the rules.
- Breaking the ice
Just before we approach any photography session, it’s best to leave it to the parents to gain a better understanding of the kids. Parents will be asked to fill-up questionnaires to help us know about the children.
Yong En says, “The information they give us can really help us break the ice with the kids and family. If we know what they [the kids] enjoy doing, we’ll know how to engage them.”
- Being patient and observant pay off
Patience is the number one key when dealing with the little ones. We don’t have to coerce kids to do what they don’t want to do. We absolutely advised parents against disciplining their children when things get out of hand during a photoshoot. It should be a fun and rewarding experience for all, so no one should be upset. This is the time where your children can get messy, dynamic and spontaneous for our camera to capture their personality.
Yong En recalls this incident where, “There was a kid who wasn’t keen on having his photos taken, then I saw that his bag is pinned with minecraft badges… so I figured he must like it… I asked him about it and he started opening up. The rest of the shoot in the botanic gardens became me and him out in a minecraft world attacking minecraft monsters. It was really fun!”
It worked and sometimes we need just to pay closer attention to get the children’s.
- Playtime is mandatory
“Telling kids to pose and smile don’t always work, so we PLAY, have fun, eat snacks. It helps if they are your children’s favourite”, says Yong En.
We laid out all the toys, balloons, cupcakes, kitchen sets, for the children to go crazy with. It is after all their time to shine so let them do their job and everything will be swell.
- Being a part-time clown works too
We believe in engaging with the children. Because what’s a photography session without some fun injected to it?
Some of the things we do include, tickling the kids with fake flowers. Making funny fart noises , peek-a-boo, or sneezing just to catch their attention.
Even our singing voices are put to the test at times. “There was a kid who only stops crying when I sang nursery rhymes, and would immediately cry again when the song ends. He was only a few months old and singing really engaged him. I have never sung so much and so long in my life. I felt like I just did a Hi-5 concert. Hahaha…”, adds Yong En.
- Know your subjects in and out, and if you don’t find out!
Always get to the children’s level, not just eye-level. What we found that works wonder is to keep talking to them, eye-to-eye. Helping them to get comfortable with us, the photographers is crucial, because children tend to be wary and become withdrawn in an unfamiliar environment.
Ask them a bunch of questions, it might take a while for them to answer, but once you hit the right one, they will start opening up and smile for you. And the rest is history. This works highly with children who are on the shy side.
- Treat everything with spontaneity
There are children who just can’t sit still, no matter what tricks you have up your sleeves. In turn, asking them to stay quiet for a shot can upset them. So making sure we are versatile and flexible is key to getting the perfect shot.
Yong illustrates one typical incident, “ Asking kids who love running up and down to sit still won’t work… maybe for the first few shots… but forcing them can upset the kid, but if they don’t do it, it can upset the parents. So I always go for the rewarding system. I would tell the kids to run but specifically cue them to smile while running, in which gives me the perfect moment to take my shots. So they can be running round and round for me to get my shots, but everyone is happy. And that’s all that matters eventually.”
For kids with siblings, we would usually encourage them to play together and set it so that both personalities are captured, these usually make perfect ‘siblings-moments’ photos.
We feel that should be enough for now to equip you with a better understanding of the behind-the-scenes. Knowing what gear and equipment to use and planning ahead is necessary but it all boils down to the basics, which is, knowing your subjects and to be in tune and intuitive to their needs are what makes good children photographer.
If you want to see us work our magic and capture your bundle of joy’s personality and character in photos, you can always shoot as an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or “CLICK HERE“ to drop us a direct message via fb :)
So we can chat further about creating a memorable photo sessions that work for your families and create a family album to be cherished for a long time.
We leave you with some of our CLIENT’S STORIES.