Photographing Children: Preparation, Preparation, Preparation!

Shy? Temper-tantrums?? Hates you???

As the optimistic that I am (my friends likely snickered when they read that), I believe there is a solution for everything. And that solution for photographing children is to come prepared. Aside from weddings, I think this is the next most important shoot to plan ahead for. Why? Kids can be unpredictable, even the lovey-dovey ones. Trust

So I have developed this list for photographers and parents alike to make things a little bit easier for future sessions which can turn this 

This was Sofia being really unhappy that there were flowers outside, pre-bubbles

This was Sofia being really unhappy that there were flowers outside, pre-bubbles

To this

This was Sofia witnessing the magic of bubbles.

This was Sofia witnessing the magic of bubbles.

I know, I know, it's like those super convincing infomercials that come on in the middle of the night that make you want to spend all your money! Lucky for you, these tips are cheap!

SO, here's my list:

  1. Bring bubbles

  2. Make sure parent(s) are in a good mood

  3. Bring bubbles

  4. Everyone has eaten

  5. Bring bubbles

  6. Does the child have a favorite toy?

  7. Bring bubbles

  8. Maybe even a favorite person to include in the shoot?

  9. Bring bubbles

  10. Find out their favorite songs and construct a playlist

In all seriousness though, bubbles can honestly be a lifesaver! Not every child loves them but I have yet to personally meet a child that didn't! However, I would still double check with the parents to make sure no one has a bubble-phobia of some kind...

Other than that, get creative! Bring a blanket to lay down if the adults are nervous about getting down on the ground. Get down on the same level as the kid! Get dirty, have fun. Make silly faces if you need to. Be wild (but not so wild you’re scaring the parents…). Show that you're there to party, not to be serious. Kids can handle a little seriousness but not for long! Unless they're the ones serving the 'tude.

In which case, you can still get some great photos. The main goal of a family/child portrait session for me is to have fun and show it. If they're shy, then my goal is to blend into the background and pop out whatever chance I get to capture them loosening up. Bubbles, though...they work miracles.

Do you have any tips for working with children? Photographer, parent, or experienced babysitter, all are welcome to leave some tips below!