i’m super excited to share this post by the mama behind the blog, It’s Always Autumn! her advice is just awesome and hopefully can help you capture great shots of your kids during this last month of summer!
Why is it so hard to get good photos of your own kids?
It’s easy to assume the answer to this question lies in the fact that our kids are just too comfortable with us, which means they don’t respond to our requests as well as they would to a stranger who asked the same things. This is probably true, and it certainly complicates matters. But when it comes right down do it, it’s hard work for ANYONE to get good photos of kids, especially little kids, who often don’t understand directions on how to pose and who almost always have a hard time smiling on demand.
So yes, it can be pretty tough to get great photos of your own kids. Here are five tips to make it a little easier:
Tip #1 – Prepare your kids for the photoshoot. If we’re going somewhere to get photos taken, it’s scheduled in advance, meaning all of us are prepared to spend some time getting our photos taken. But when I want to photograph my own kids at home, I often just grab them and tell them we’re taking pictures right now, without giving them any warning or paying much attention to what they’re already doing. As a result, they’re not exactly overjoyed at the prospect of getting photographed, and it’s easy to end up with shots like this one:
Set an appointment with your kids for a photo shoot at a time you know they won’t be tired or otherwise involved, and give them an idea of how long it will take. Try to get them onboard with the idea of taking pictures (a little bribery usually helps).
Tip #2 – Remember it’s worth the work. When I was getting paid to take pictures, I would spend the time and effort it took to get good photos, no matter what. That meant I would demonstrate how I wanted the kids to sit instead of just telling them what to do, I’d sing crazy songs and make animal noises to get them to smile, I’d try different poses and angles, and above all, I’d try to make it fun for the child, because that’s the key to great photos. It can be frustrating when your child refuses to look at you for shot after shot, but if you want a good picture of a 4-year-old, you have to be prepared to keep trying different things to get their attention (find tips on getting youngsters to look at the camera here).
If you want a photoshoot to be easy, you should probably pay someone else to do it. If you’re going to save the money and do it yourself instead, you need to be willing to do the work required to help a child shine in photos.
Tip #3 – Stay calm and be respectful. I mentioned before that our kids are comfortable with us, which may prompt them to be less respectful toward us than they would be to someone else. Well, that road leads both ways. I was embarrassed to realize how disrespectful I’d been to my kids during our difficult photo shoot last week. I said things like “why are you making that face? Just smile!” and “why can’t you sit up straight? I’ve already asked you four times!” and maybe some other not so nice things I won’t admit to on the internet.
Would I ever say those things to someone else’s child? No way! But I was stressed and impatient and because they were my own kids I let my frustrations show. And that, my friends, was the real reason our photoshoot went so badly. Which leads me to number four…
4 – The child is more important than the photo. Period. Even if you have a vision of how you want a photo to look and even if grandparents galore are waiting for new pictures, the child (and your relationship with him or her) is so much more important than the perfect photo.
Read tip number 5 and other great tips on Autumn’s fabulous blog: It’s Always Autumn