6 Tips to Get Great Pictures of Kids!

Oh, kids.
They can be exasperating to work with.
Let's be honest, a happy child is the most wild, free spirited thing you'll ever know and will hardly sit still or look at a camera long enough to say cheese. BUT if you know a few tricks they can be the most beautiful, magical creatures you've ever worked with! 

Here's a few things I've learned that make photographing kids my favorite! (And they don't even have to smile...)

Connect. You have to have to connect with them somehow. If you connect with them they will be more likely to respond to your direction.

1. Be FUN - throw leaves with them. Play a game of making faces. High five them - a lot!
I think it's really important to know their names, and use it a lot!

2. Change it up. K, now jump around. Look at mom. Make a silly face. Now give me your best smile! Now stop smiling and freeze…. Work with their short attention spans! They're guaranteed to get a little cranky (or maybe a lot) if they are expected to sit still and hold a, now fake, smile.

3. Give them breaks. Again, work with their short attention spans, and give them quick breaks to run around or get a drink or go to mom

4. Encourage good behavior. If mom and dad haven’t already bribed - I mean encouraged - them to be (generally) well behaved, then figure out some kind of reward. Small candies (with parents' permission) like smarties (NO CHOCOLATE) or pez work miracles. If candy is a no-go, simple rewards like hopping up and down can feel like a reward (and also goes along with "give them breaks").

5. Don't make them smile in every shot. Sometimes I like to tell the kids, "don't worry about smiling, just look at me like you're listening." Or, "don't worry about looking at the camera right now... why don't you look at _____________?"

6. Follow them around. Let the kid(s) set the pace for a little bit and follow his or her lead. Ask for their ideas, and go with them. If there is a child who just refuses to cooperate you might be amazed at how they change when they feel like they are in charge! Action shots are another great way to capture their personalities. Follow them around and snap away!

No matter what you do, don't forget to breathe. Don't rush through the experience, try to enjoy it and create those portraits that will be timeless for them and possibly generations to come!

You've totally got this!

What are some of your tricks to get great pictures of kids?
What other challenges do you want to overcome in your portrait photography?

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