This is a Guest Post shared with us by Karis from Emily June Photography in Maryland US. Karis takes beautiful children and family portraits, and has some fabulous tips to help us take our own trouble-free Kids Photos!
My absolute favorite subjects to photograph are children. There is something magical in the way a child views and interacts with the world, and I long to capture every one of those moments. This is especially true for my own children. I feel them growing up too quickly and don’t want to forget the look of surprise when they wake up to a room full of balloons on their birthday, the complete peace in their face when they finally fall asleep each night, and the carefree smile as they lay in the grass and stare up at the clouds.
That is why I don’t command the typical “Say cheese! “ when I pull out my camera for a quick shot. If your kids are anything like mine, those words will be greeted with this look…
Or this attempt…
And as cute as they are, that’s not really the image I was hoping to put on our Christmas card this year. I want, probably much like you, to capture their essence, their spirit, and their innocence.
Here are some tips to help you take those kind of photographs.
This may sound ridiculous but hear me out. Most kids learn by the age of 2 or 3 that adults like taking their pictures, usually right in the middle of them having fun. It’s far easier for a little girl to flash that quick silly grin so she can go back to her activity than it is for her to stop and relax enough to give you a natural smile. I’d rather wait for them to smile on their own as they play or interact with others because I can be patient – they usually cannot. Some of my favorite pictures of my kids are completely unplanned. In fact, I don’t even always try to get that huge smile. A pleasant grin, where their eyes twinkle, is just as beautiful to me.
If you really want your child to be looking in your direction for the photograph, think of things that will make them laugh or smile naturally. Ask them about their favorite book or story. Sing a silly song or purposely sing the wrong words to a song they know well. Play “don’t smile” and see how long they can last with a frown on their face. Make a goofy face of your own! With any of these ideas, be sure your camera settings are ready and eye is on the viewfinder so you are ready to click away when they flash that heart breaking smile.
I’ll admit it…sometimes I bribe my kids with a special treat if they cooperate and at least face the direction I’m asking or play along with story. But if you want to capture pure happiness, keep taking pictures while they’re enjoying their hard earned treat. Afterall, that’s part of childhood isn’t it? I’ve used giant old fashioned lollipops, ice cream cones, popsicles, mini cupcakes, and even bubbles to end children’s session.
If all else fails, photograph what you see, even if it isn’t what you planned!
We all have bad days. We have days where things just aren’t going the way we thought they would. We have days where we would rather just be alone and not cooperate with the world. Kids are no different and I think those moments are just as important as the blissful ones. If your child really wants nothing to do with you and your camera despite bribes or silly games, let it be. You don’t want him to hate the sight of your camera. And just like tip 1 states, you can still photograph him being, well, him.