Since it's the holiday season and taking pictures of your kids, your grandkids, or your nieces and nephews is basically a priority I thought I would share some tips on how to get amazing photos of them. These are the things I do when photographing little ones and they help me get wonderfully candid photos.
First things first, make sure your camera is put on the continuous shutter mode. This way you can easily take multiple pictures while holding down the camera button. Many things can happen in one short moment and you want to be sure you get them all.
Let them explore the area. Don’t confine the kids to one spot and have them sit there for photos. If there’s one thing I know about kids, it’s that they don’t want to stay in one place for very long. Let them run around and be themselves keeps them happy and gives you the chance to get more candid photos of them. And be prepared to follow them around; don’t expect them to come to you.
Get on their level. Don’t be afraid to get on the ground, whether that means by sitting, kneeling, or even laying down. This doesn’t mean you can’t stand while photographing, getting on different levels allows for different perspectives and can give you more interesting photos. Plus, getting on the same level as the child makes you seem less intimidating. The kids are more comfortable with you and you guys can have more fun.
It’s ok to get a little messy. Sometimes getting dirty makes for some great photos. Use what’s around you, get the kids playing in the water or the sand, run through some tall grass, throw some leaves around, whatever makes the kids excited. In the photo below I had the girls lay on the ground while their mom and I dropped leaves on their faces. They loved it and I got some happy faces in return.
Take the photo, even if you can’t see what you’re photographing. Sometimes you may be in a situation where it’s impossible to see through the viewfinder and take the photo, so just take the photo anyway. When I do this, I aim the camera to where I think the subject is in frame and then I take a couple pictures. Since I can’t see exactly what I’m shooting, I like to take a couple photos to make sure I get the shot I want. For instance, in this photo, the little girl was right up against me. She was too close for me to put the camera up to my face, so I put the camera up a little higher, pointed straight down, and took the photo. I made sure that I was zoomed out as far as possible so that I could also try and get her newborn sister in the shot as well. And what do you know it worked out perfectly.
What if they aren’t interested in getting their picture taken? In that case, put the camera down for a bit. Let them get comfortable and explore the area with them. You can even give them some space, let them wander around by themselves for a bit and photograph them from a distance. You may not get the super happy shots that you were hoping for, but you’ll still get some pretty interesting photos of them just being themselves.
What about when they are way too interested in the camera? If they keep getting up close, use that. Get some close up photos of their adorable little face. Stand up, ask them to smile for the camera or make a silly face. If they get so close that you can’t even take a picture, you may end up playing a game of chase, where you run away from them as they chase you. I do this all the time but while “running” backwards, that way I can still take pictures of them having fun.
When worse comes to worse, snacks can be a pretty good bribing tool. :)
I hope you found this helpful or at least interesting. I use all these tips when I’m doing a session with little kids and it works every time. The main idea is to just have fun. That’s all the kids really want to do so why stop them. It can make for some great memories and some really amazing photos.