Taking better photos of your children
Advice given here is not to be interpreted as parenting advice: it is simply offering advice to achieve taking better photos of your children.
Please don't ever ask me; "How do I ever get better at photography/ my camera". Firstly, I will tell you why not and then what I can show you with this blog.
* What are you shooting?
* What mode are you shooting in?
* What are your kids doing whilst you're taking their photo- are they running, jumping or sitting still?
* What are you wanting to achieve with your portait?
* What camera are you using and the list goes on.
I want to show you how to take better photos of your children- regardless of the above and regardless of if you are using any camera or phone.
If I am any good at my job, I will have you thinking my sessions are flawless with no tears and no need to stop for changing nappies or breast feeding and no child I take a portrait of runs away from the camera.
You are doing everything right in your attempts.
However- so is your child: all of the above is perfectly and biologically natural.
My job is to temporarily interrupt the primal instincts of children long enough that we may capture beautiful portraits. The beautiful thing is mum's, you already know how to do this. You probably simply haven't applied the techniques of how you normally keep your children feeling calm and relaxed when you're trying to get a good photo of the kids- even if it's just on your iphone. You may simply not realise it's the same process and techniques.
There are two broad categories of children I photograph and who I will discuss: those who want to take over the photography time and those who want to run away from the camera. Let's discuss these two groups here;
1/ You are wanting a beautiful portrait of your child/ children and all they want to do is show off.
Here I apply reverse psychology: I let them. Yep- I let them muck around but only for a bit. Quite often when it comes to the professional photography children can in fact show off as a means to hide their nerves.
As the portrait photographer, I am also a stranger whose confidence or respect they have not gained. Children have had the message to ignore strangers instilled to them from a very early age. Essentially, I am fighting against this piece of psychology. Parents being present does help this process, because where they see mum/ dad giving them permission to interact with me, they know I'm a "safe stranger".
Picture yourself for a moment coming to a complete stranger for your portrait to be taken. It can in fact be quite daunting. During this short time where I let them show off I even become a bit of a kid myself if I have to. I use this time resourcefully to gain their trust and in return, respect. I promise I am not simply wasting your session time. It is only at this time where I can ask them to cooperate with me so we may achieve the portraits we desire. Quite often during this time parents have sometimes felt the need to discipline their children, without realising I am using a process of reverse psychology here.
I make a deal with children when they come in which I let mum and dad hear. I tell them; "Ok guys- what we are going to do is have some fun. I want you all to be yourselves and let's do some funny shots. However, what I ask in return is once we've had this bit of fun is if you could please make sure you do some nice formal ones for mum and dad. Is that cool?"
They think it's pretty cool I let them muck around and basically run shop for a while. Then they know when to get serious and when it's time for the formal ones.
2/ You are wanting to take a beautiful portrait of your child but they are camera shy and cry every time! What to do?
Mum's, you know the answer to this- you got this! You do whatever you would normally to during times when they are upset or need comforting. It's exactly the same. In the case of professional photography with me, the children are seeing the biggest camera they have ever see. A close up of my camera shows exactly why it is daunting and scary for them and yes I get tears! However, I tell you how I approach this type of child: I employ absolute patience.
You are my client. If it takes a while for your child to feel relaxed in front of my camera- that is totally cool. This is a safe environment for all to come in to create the images you want. That starts with everyone being relaxed- including mum and dad. We all know how we look when we're grumpy. So I add a little help to my camera with my friend.... and it works!
I love the following image which we achieved with the help of my friend who helped this 7 week old feel comfortable just enough to strike a pose with the blanket. Headband provided by LA Photography.
In any LA Photography children's portrait session:
* I do not assume the role of the parent.
* I always ensure someone, even if it's the parent, is watching the child/ children at all times.
* I always focus on the emotional state of the child ensuring they are happy and relaxed.
Most of all- I allow everyone to have fun.
How to receive a FREE photography tutoring lesson in your own home on how to take better photos of your children: Book a family portrait session with LA Photography. It is that simple! Happy shooting!