I could not begin to tell you how many photographers I have heard make a statement along these lines: "Family photography is my least favorite because I just can't work with kids!"
I get it…little kids are known for being quite a tough crowd! (I know, I'm raising two of my own!) But it IS possible to get beautiful pictures of rambunctious and energetic kids. So whether you're a mom that's just desperate for some cooperation, or a photographer that needs a game plan, I hope these tips helps on your next photoshoot.
1. Time Your Session
The most beautiful photos typically take place during "golden hour" when the sunlight is the softest. This takes places about one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset. These times aren't always ideal for toddlers and young kids, so what can you do?
Plan ahead! If you know your photoshoot will fall close to bedtime, try having your kids nap so they are well rested (just make sure they have plenty of time to wake up before the shoot begins!)
If you know that a nap isn't feasible or won't work for your kids, schedule your session for the fall or winter months when sunset is earlier in the day.
2. Bring Distractions
Come prepared! Bring a bag with their favorite toys and (non-messy) snacks. This works great for the photographer to use to get their attention and have them look towards the camera. It also helps children have a more natural smile. Don't be afraid to play! Hide-and-seek, tag, catch…anything that will make your kids laugh and giggle.
3. Be Positive
Kids feed off of the emotions and actions around them. If you are stressed and tense, they will notice those emotions and react accordingly. If you come excited and ready to have a lot of fun, they will be happier as well. Children also tend to respond better to praise so be overly generous with your praise and affection to build up their confidence and enthusiasm.
4. Be Patient
Let your child explore and have fun without rushing. Some of my favorite photos of my own kids have occurred when I just followed them around as they played naturally on their own. Let your child do the leading and set the pace.