One of my all time favorite people to photograph are my own kids. They’re just ever changing (especially my little 2 year old – some serious mood swings there!) and capturing them doing life brings me so much joy. Its always frustrating, though, when you try and try to get a good picture and for lots of reasons it just doesn’t work. Between ever changing moods of toddlers, kiddos being tired or hungry, or just plain on the move all the time – kids can be hard to capture great pictures of.
I came up with a list of 5 tips that I utilize all the time to not only take pictures of my own kids, but when I take pictures of families, too. There’s always going to be the bad picture that you just delete, but when you’re intentionally trying to get the best pictures possible (whether with your phone or any type of camera), you’re bound to capture some truly priceless moments.
There’s nothing kids like better than playing with an adult that’s willing to be silly and goofy with them. And it’s a sure fire way to get a natural smile, or even better, a full on laugh. I love to bring a little hand puppet, Mr. Piggy, along on my photo shoots to help encourage the goofiness. Kids love the fun distraction that being silly brings. Whether it’s me jumping up and down, tickling, or pulling out my sidekick, Mr. Piggy, they all make picture taking a fun experience instead of being stiff and demanding.
Which leads me to my next tip – its all about distraction! Being goofy is really all about distracting your kiddos from what you’re really wanting – a great smiling picture! So whether its being goofy or something else, distracting kids from what you’re doing is helpful to get authentic smiles and interaction. Sometimes it’s as simple as pointing out a fun rock, or searching for a bug, or twirling in circles.
I’m not one to encourage bribery if it can be helped, but kids love to know there’s a reward in it for all of their participation. So whether its a promised outing to the park playground, a special treat, or a movie night with mom and dad, you can always encourage smiles with a reward!
Kids are no different than adults when it comes to needing encouragement. Everyone likes to know when they’re doing well. So give your kiddos lots of encouragement when you’re taking pictures. Let them know how great they look, how sweet their smiles are, and how awesome they’re doing at sitting still for pictures when you’ve asked. And just keep it coming!
Kids can be unpredictable (there’s an understatement!) and sometimes you can try all of the above tips and still not get some good interaction and smiles. But no matter how your pictures are going, one of the most important things to do is go with the flow. You can’t force a munchkin to be happy and give you authentic smiles. So encourage their curiosity and let that unfold to some fun and authentic pictures!
These tips come from taking pictures of my own kids as well as taking portraits of others. So whether you’ve gone out to specifically take portraits or you’re just trying to capture your kids at play at home these are sure to help!