Andrea Booker, professional photographer, continues her series of tips and suggestions for us. Her post today gives us pointers in working with young children.
Let's talk about photographing children (affectionately called little people). Little people are always full of surprises as most of us know. They say funny things, cry, jump, run, give you the 'look,' frown when you want them to smile, smile when you want their 'serious look,' and look away when you want them to look at you. Most little people are even cute when they're mad and simply glowing when they are happy or excited about something. For me personally, photographing children is a very rewarding challenge and I enjoy it very much.
So, how can you prepare your little ones for their photo sessions? Here are a few tips to consider:
*Unless it's a first birthday picture, have their bellies full. For those one-year-old cake moments, you don't want your baby overly hungry, but we'll let the cake top off their little tanks.
*For little babies, it's best to take their pictures when their bellies are full and their diapers aren't. It's also good to have a backup picture outfit for just-in-case purposes.
*Have them dressed in their photo session outfits. The less of a deal it is to get settled in at the session location, the easier it will be to take their pictures. We'll try to be quick during the session so your little one isn't too bored or otherwise uninterested.
*Toys? If there are one or two small toys that your child/children love, yes, bring them. We can play a few quick games with them to get some fun smiles from the little ones. Please make sure these toys are clean and in as good repair as possible as they may end up in the pictures.
*Props? A family I photograph very frequently LOVES props and it's really so much fun for me as a photographer to see what goodies they bring with them. This last time, they brought an old Radio Flyer wagon, put the cute little one in the back and we took the shot. It's so rewarding to be able to provide the family with the picture they had in their heads. So, props are always fun; just talk with your photographer first to give them a heads up. They might have a specific prop already so you wouldn't have to worry about bringing it with you.
*If there are any areas of concern with your child participating in the session, please let your photographer know in advance so that they may be better prepared. For example, some children are afraid of balloons, so the photographer would need to know not to use balloons in the session. Also, let your photographer know of any allergies as some will use treat 'bribes' or other attention grabbing tools.
As a parent or participant in the session, even if you aren't getting your photo taken, please be prepared to help. The photographers can direct the helpers where they need them to help to reduce confusion, distraction and chaos. However, here is a quick list of participant actions I strongly recommend parents/participants NOT do:
*Both parents playing peek-a-boo or jumping up and down or hollering to their child(ren). Not only is this behavior distracting to the child, it's also distracting to the photographer. If the child(ren) react to these actions by the parents, wonderful, but please, one at a time.
*Please stand behind the photographer while still giving them room to work and change positions.
*Please don't yell or loudly instruct the child(ren) to smile or otherwise react to the photo session.
It has been my experience that these actions do not end up with the most wonderful results. We try to keep the sessions fun, moving, and memorable for the whole family so that next time, little 'Suzie' will be excited to go have her pictures taken rather than run away from the photographer. It's much more fun for me when the child(ren) recognize me as "the picture lady" and are ready to get down to business for a fun and fabulous photo session.
These are my tips, opinions, and experiences.
The two photographs are of Rilynn's 9-month photo session--so cute!
Join me next time for tips on session location possibilities.
Owner/Photographer of Single Moments Photography, Greenville, MI
Thank you, Andrea! If you have any questions you would like to ask Andrea, please contact me and I will send your questions to her.
We welcome your comments and suggestions.