I’m not a professional photographer but I play one on TV… no wait I don’t even do that. I like to pretend I know what I’m doing when it comes to photography but I’m just faking my way till I make something that resembles a decent photo.
My most common subjects for photography are my own children. I try to capture their everyday shenanigans and make it look pretty but I don’t often try to get posed group shots for things like holiday cards… cause it’s hard to photograph your own children. If they don’t listen to you for the rest of the year why are they going to suddenly become perfect photography subjects? They aren’t. But there are a few tricks I’ve learned (mostly from trial and error) that I want to share.
1. Go in with low expectations – Seriously, if you want some perfectly posed kids’ photos you will be sorely disappointed. Go in with the mindset that the day may be a complete flop. I prefer to let my main goal be, HAVE FUN. If you aim to create a fun experience for your kids you might get some unplanned awesomeness from your kids.
2. Choose a child-friendly location – But not too child friendly. I once attempted photographs at a playground on a gorgeous day and my kids just disappeared into the flock of playing children. They never sat still and I was beyond frustrated. Choose a location that isn’t too distracting but is also safe and child-friendly. We like to visit local parks (not playgrounds) that have wide open spaces that allow children to run around.
3. Use props – I try to utilize new and unique objects that hold their attention long enough for them to sit still. Toddlers especially need props. Bring along a chair, bench, blanket, basket, stuffed animal, snack, toy, etc…
4. Have a helper – Have another adult accompany you when taking your children’s photos. The other adult can help wrangle kids, make funny faces behind you so they might smile, or carry your stuff around. If possible have a helper, often my helper is my husband… he doesn’t like the photographer’s helper job very much but at least I’m not out there alone with 3 kids.
5. Go with the flow – You’ve already set your expectations low but you have to remember to go with the flow. If the kids want to pick some flowers or sit on a tractor or play with the leaves use that to your advantage. You want to encourage them to have fun so you will get smiles. If they aren’t having fun you will have some sad faces in the pictures.
6. If at first, you don’t succeed, try again. – If your 1st attempt at photos is a bust, don’t force it. Kids aren’t always feeling it and if they are overtired, hungry, or just in a bad mood you should stop while you ahead and plan pictures for another day. Everyone will appreciate it.
As I said, I’m not a photography expert but these tips helped me get some decent and funny photos of my boys.