As a freelance photographer, I work with a lot of families and youngsters capturing portraits and family group photos... And kids can be finicky. As you are all very well aware. Any little thing can turn your angelic munchkin
into a small dictator refusing even the simplest of requests. So there are a few tips and tricks I've come up with after years of working with families, and I thought I'd share a few!
Things to think of before the shoot even starts: do your best to schedule your shoot when your child is going to be well-fed and well-rested. Try to NOT be rushing out the door, yelling at everyone to hurry up. I will always try to book the photoshoot at a place you are aware of, are comfortable with, have been before, or isn't too far away for you. We don't want any extra stressors. And always have the clothes picked out in advance!
Once you're at the shoot, let's get going right away! I always find that some of the most natural smiles with everyone looking at me, happen right away. The kids will eventually get bored with being told "look at the camera!"
One of the biggest things with family group shots that goes wrong, is the parents are usually both looking down and trying to get the kids to look at me or smile at me. When the kids briefly look up, I have to then attempt to get the parents' attention as well! Parents, try your best to remember to look at the camera, too. I'll focus on getting the little ones' focus. You can slyly tickle them for smiles and laughs, but keep those eyes on me!
And, of course, have fun! It's good to have ideas for what kinds of photos you'd like, but sometimes you'll have to roll with the punches and just play with your kids. I'll worry about getting the images and making you all look your best. I got this!
So there ya go, a few tips for your next photoshoot. Now, put it to practice.
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Danielle Desnoyers is a traveling freelance photographer with a focus on humanitarian, travel, and family photography. She currently splits her time between the United States and Vietnam with travels to other countries as well.