You can learn all the tricks about your camera, settings, and the best conditions for a good portrait – but a good kids’ photo generally comes down to one thing: the cooperation of your subject. Without this you can have the perfect everything but still end up with a poor photo. With that in mind, set out to employ these tips the next time you are taking photos of your kids:
Remember they aren’t professional models
Kids don’t have the patience that kids do, or professionals for that matter. You can’t expect them to pose for long before they start fidgeting. Rather than losing your patience, give them a chance to burn off some energy and try again. Otherwise, try another day.
Provide some details
Have you ever tried taking the kids on a long trip, only to hear “are we there yet?” every five minutes? Do you ever think it would be easier if they knew exactly what was going on? Maybe, maybe not, but in my experience it’s a lot easier to work with kids if they clearly understand what the expectations are. Try something like “I need you to sit here for 2 minutes, then we can go get a snack.” You’ll be surprised how much you both can accomplish when you are both on the same page.
Let them take control, for a bit
Kids can come up with all kinds of suggestions for poses and locations – so let them have an opinion and work with their ideas. It may be jumping in a puddle, posing on a statue, making a face, etc. By letting them give suggestions they become an active participant in the process and will me more likely to cooperate.
Perfection isn’t going to happen, so let it go
Trying to get “the” image for your next Christmas photo or to hang in your hallway isn’t going to happen unless the stars are aligned – so let it go. The result will be a more natural, carefree image than one where the poses are forced.
Cut it short, before it’s too late
Probably the hardest part of taking portraits of your kids is knowing when to say when – as it’s usually a lot sooner than you are ready to concede. By quitting while your kids are still content will make them much more willing the next time you want to take out your camera.