Posts Tagged ‘Santa Monica Family Photographer’

[Tips & Tricks] Family Sessions: Interacting with Children

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Family sessions are always fun. When the children are around the same age as my girls, it makes me feel like I have an in. Usually I’m good for at least one laugh from the kids and if I’m lucky the parents will crack a smile too! This session was from a while ago, but I realized I never did an “official” post. I felt like sharing some of my thoughts on interacting with kids (from the perspective of having a couple of my own and trying to take photos of other people’s too).

On interacting with children…

  • Kids want to laugh. Usually they’re just looking for a reason. You’d be amazed at how far it’ll go just to be silly with them.
  • They love when you’re willing to embarrass yourself or if they know something you don’t. Don’t be afraid to sing. I’m generally a sing-in-the-shower-or-only-in-the-car-maybe-after-a-couple-drinks-during-karaoke type of girl, but I break this rule when it comes to kids. I don’t have a great voice, that’s for sure, but kids know so many songs and that’s a good way to connect. The best laughs I get from kids is when I sing to them a song they know, but accidentally put their  name in it… something like… ahem… Twinkle, twinkle, little star how I wonder what you are, up above the world so high, like a Cedar in the sky.. oh what? what do you mean it’s not Cedar? How does it go then?! OR a personal favorite of my own: “Ga-gooon went the little green Amara one day, Ga-gooon went the little green Amara, Ga-Goon went the little green Amara one day and her eyes went Ga-Ga-Goooooon”
  • Get on their level. This is easy for me since I’m already pretty short, but I love taking photos of children when I’m eye to eye with them.
  • Kids don’t necessarily like to pose. And if they do, it’ll last for  2.75 minutes. If  you’re lucky. Really there’s only two ways to go about this. If they’re really shy with me, I’ll do posed  shots first since they want to cuddle up to mom and dad and look at me from afar. Then I suggest letting the kid(s) play and I’ll engage with them and get mostly candids.  If they’re open to it, I’ll do candids first and let them warm up to me and THEN ask them to do the more posed shots.
  • Older kids like to “help.” I suppose it’s part of gaining independence and wanting to show how they are such “big kids”, but whatever it is, kids love to help. If a toddler is not feeling like participating in the session, I’ll usually enlist them as my “helper.” They’ll either help me by making faces at their parents/sibling(s) and making them laugh or I’ll even let them press the button on the camera and show  them the LCD. It’s really more about getting them engaged in the process and eventually I’ll ask them to get in with their parents and will show them their  photo. Once the child feels more connected to it, he/she tends to be more open to getting their own photo taken!
  • If you have children, schedule a photo session based on their schedule. From personal experience, I know that my 3.5 year old has good times and bad times. She’s most cooperative when she has napped, been fed, and of course bribed :)

Now, what’s YOUR favorite trick for taking photos of kids? Hope you’ll share!