Kids are unpredictable!
Am I right? Every child has his or her own way of doing things. No two are exactly alike, but no matter the child it is important to understand how to work with that child. In order to know how to work with each child you photograph lets first break it down.
Every child falls under one of these four categories.
The Runner - kids who just cannot sit still even for a moment.
The Non-Participator - kids who look angry or simply won't look up.
The Stinkfacer - The kid who's always making faces and won't smile.
The Stage 5 Clinger - Kids who are terrified of the photographer and only want their mommy/daddy.
With these useful tips if you remain calm and be patient I promise you'll make it fun for the whole family to get involved with the session.
1.)Use Fun Props - adding fun props to a photoshoot can be an easy and great way to get those runners and other types of children to sit down and cooperate. Props are not just there to look pretty, they're a distraction. (cakes, lollipops, candy canes, toys, pets and more)
2.) Get rid of the sillys - Before starting your session letting the kids run around and shake off all those sillies has two purposes. First, when most kids see the camera, they have an almost instant urg to make a funny face. This lets them get it out of their system (especially for those stinkfacers ). More importantly , it makes everyone feel more comfortable and relaxed. Now those natural smiles can come out. Also letting kids have some fun and make some fun faces that usually mom and dad would so no to lets them have some fun and feel like they can be themselves. I love to let kids start out by having a little fun and it helps them to warm up to you, the photographer, which makes the rest of the session run a lot smoother .
3.)Prizes in your bag- Don't judge me. In my studio I have a little treasure drawer and at the end of every session I let the kids dig in and find some goodies for doing such an awesome job during the session. Sometimes if kids are acting up a bit I even let them take a little peak and I tell them when the session is over they are going to get to take any item they would like. If they are really good, they can take two. Having a handful on me at all times for on location sessions works the same. I usually will reach into my bag and say something like "what da! What is this" followed by pulling out little toys and candies.
Well there you have it. I hope these little tricks help you have an even better time photographing families.