As a photographer it's my job to make you feel comfortable in front of the camera. If I can’t do that, then I’ve failed.
Typically when shooting children, I’ll preface the parents and tell them that it is perfectly OK if their child doesn’t smile or *gasp* look at the camera.
We all pick up vibes from each other. If you have nervous energy about getting your photo taken, then your children will also.
If you constantly tell them to “Say Cheese!” or “Look at the camera!” They may feel that they are doing something wrong, and clam up. Those two phrases are not allowed when I’m shooting a session. I don’t want your kids looking like they should be advertising for a dentures commercial.
So the first tip is to CHILL OUT! IT'S ALL GOOD!
The thing with kids is, they know what's up. Children will spot if you are genuine or not. They’ll call your bluff and shout you out quicker than you know.
Typically I have a general ideal of what I want to do. Most of the time I let the child lead. I’ll direct them a little here and there. However, I want to capture them at their most natural.
Here are my six suggestions for photographing children:
Tip #2: Get on Their Level
Getting low puts you on equal ground. You will look less intimidating as well. Crouch down and you will instantly put them at ease. Photos taken from their level also look more flattering. Photos taken from above tend to look skewed and disproportionate. Get involved in what they are doing. If they are in the dirt, get down in the dirt with them.
Tip #3: Incorporate Details
They won’t be this size forever. Try to get details of how their hands, or feet are. Mom will love you for it.
Tip #4: Be silly!
No need to be serious all the time! If they like to sing, ask them to sing. Yell something outrageous to them like “HOT SHOT BOOGER SNOT!” They’ll be surprised you said something so ridiculous and will definitely chuckle.
Tip # 5: Make them feel comfortable
Ask them to tell you a story or about something they love to do. You’ll get a lot of authentic shots of them being as is this way.
Tip # 6: Close Up
We all like to take a lot of full body shots. Try getting some of that sweet angelic face. Even if they aren’t facing or looking at the camera you can capture a lot of their personality through body language.