We all know the deal, when the yearly family portrait session rolls around it can be daunting for families with little kids. It makes me SO sad to say this because I truly deeply LOVE making family portraits and working with littles of every age! Here comes another truth for you, IT’S FUN!! Seriously, it’s actually fun for everyone: kiddos, parents, and especially fun for us. Because it’s not always evident for photographers on how to work with kids because well, they don’t always WANT to listen to you like adults do! To help you out we’ve put together a little cheat sheet.. cheat blog actually. These aren’t only tips for how to get great family portraits, but they’re tips on truly enjoying family portrait sessions with little kids AND having your clients enjoy them too.
SO without further ado, here are some of my tips to make each family photography session a happy activity that both you and your clients will remember warmly for years to come.
1. Make Friends
Kids are often just bursting to make a new friend, and who doesn’t want to get to know these cuties?! Engage with them, ask them about their favorite toys, colors, games, schools, friends and their siblings. Share silly anecdotes, make funny faces. Soon enough, their little smiles will come through! The key here is to actually CARE about what they say, kids can see through you really quickly. If they see you want to have fun with them and are curious about them, they’ll engage with you right away!
2. Make It Fun
There’s nothing better than play — not only will everyone have a lovely time, but the portraits will show the true joy that your family is having together! Seek out locations such as parks, playgrounds and outdoor venues that not only are beautiful, but have fun ways for children — and parents — to interact with their surroundings. We do lots of running, playing, hopping, skipping, races… anything that has movement and that will naturally make everyone smile!
3. Keep It Quick
When little ones are involved, time is of the essence. Hours laboring over getting the perfect shot will quickly result in grumpy faces and unwilling participants. All this takes is a little planning — be prepared to get the shot and move on as soon as you have it! The best candids are in those in-between moments between posed shots. Sometimes, those are the most treasured, too!
4. Let Their Personalities Shine
The goal of portrait photographer for little ones is to capture a child just as they are at that age - silly faces, crinkly-eyed smiles, toothless-gaps and all! Childhood moments are fleeting, so letting their personalities speak through the camera frame is the best way to capture them at their most natural! Basically, let them be kids and celebrate the uniqueness, silliness, and weirdness that is childhood.
5. Go With The Flow
Sometimes, kids run off to dance in front of a beautiful door, or play hopscotch in the park. Let them take the lead —this is where the magic really happens! When kids feel like they’re a little bit in control, you can capture even more engaging portraits. Many times I start and game and then ask them what they want to do. For this sweet moment below, I asked the girls if they knew how to twirl and they ALL wanted to show me.. So we did that! But if they had said no or wanted to play hide and seek instead, we would have done what they wanted to do. Our goal is to have fun with the kiddos, because that’s when they’re truly happiest and their most natural selves.
Was this helpful to you?? If you’d like to know a bit more on capturing childhood I wrote a book on it! You can easily purchase and download it here. The book is for beginner photographers and parents alike. It’s the basics of photography and the basics of capturing kids as their most authentic selves. Buy it here!
Please leave us a comment below if you have any questions!! - Katie