Ever get out the camera to take pictures of your sweet kids, only to discover they aren’t so hot on the idea? Before you know it one of you ends up angry, the other flustered? And the only image you capture is of a frustrated, scowling, screaming, ( albeit cute ) child?
Uh huh. Over the years I have been there SO many times. Here are just some of the things that I have learned a long the way . I hope that they can be some help to you too!
1. Keep your expectations low. REAL low. Little ones tend to have a mind of their own. If they want to smile, they will. If they want to jump, they will. If they want to be all cutesy, they will. If they want to pull their sister’s hair, they will. If they want to pick their nose…you guessed it, they will. If they want to play, they will. Which brings me to my next point…
2. Let the child just play. Join her world. Don’t expect her to join yours. Follow her around- even if that means putting on a pair of running shoes to keep up with her. Offer a cute chair or stool to sit on but, don’t expect her to sit. Especially if she is one or two. The quickest way to end a mini shoot is making a toddler sit still. I promise.
3. Sing songs, tell stories, and act like a complete lunatic. That will grab her attention. Maybe the neighborhood’s too- but who cares . Capturing that genuine belly laugh on camera is worth the embarrassment!
4. Show your child what you are doing. Let her see sneak peaks of herself, and encourage her to let you take more.
5. Kids LOVE nothing more to be in charge. Act as if she is. Often, during professional shoots I will allow a child ( eep! ) to take over my camera and take a few pictures of her family by herself. Trust me. It never fails.
6. Choose your locations wisely. Wide open spaces are perfect. Kids love to explore . Some of my favorite locations are wild fields, and beaches.
7. Choose your timing wisely. I cant stress this enough trying to shoot during nap time or right before meals, will end badly. Trust me. It just will.
8. This is a hard one for me but try not to treat your camera like it is an extension of your arm. Live in the moments with your kids. Build memories in your heart too. Those are the memories you both will treasure forever.
9. This is the one occasion that it is more than ok to bribe. In fact – I encourage it. Bribe Bribe away. I have seen a single piece of candy work magic on the grumpiest of kids!
10. Know when to count your losses. Sometimes it’s better to just put the camera away and try again later.
* A big thank you to my little niece, Baby G, for allowing me a mere five minutes this morning to capture some of your cuteness! Tia LOVES YOU! And I LOVE your hugs and kisses. Can never get enough! *