Both of my children were born in April. So every year near their birthdays I try to do a “real” photo shoot with them. Taking pictures of your own kids is NOT easy! This particular shoot was full of lots of yelling, screaming and pouting. . .and that was just from ME!!!!!
Our own kids know how to push our buttons, and they get bored easily when we take pictures of them. It can be difficult to get them to smile naturally for us or listen to directions.
In fact, after I was finished taking these, I went home and didn’t even look at the pictures for a few days because I was convinced nothing came out. But I did manage to get some cute shots that I think capture my kids’ personalities. And it *looks* like we had a blast, full of balloons, smiles, and laughs! (P.S., most of the smiles were a result of lots of potty humor and bribery). Hopefully my kids will remember this as a fun day, not one where I was yelling, “Stand still, stop touching your sister. . .hug your brother. . .no, not that hard!!” (Don’t worry, I don’t ever yell at my clients’ kids 🙂 ).
One thing is for sure, my kiddos really do love each other! Even if there was A LOT of bickering and teasing going on during the photo shoot, these pictures will help me remember the love and affection they feel for one another.
So here are my TOP SIX ways to get photos of your own kids (I was going to do five, but couldn’t edit it down!):
1) SET UP the camera settings and your location BEFORE you bring your kids over to take the picture. Move clutter from the background if you’re inside, set up a chair or pick a good spot outside, turn your flash on or off, focus, etc. so that your kids aren’t waiting for you to set up the shot. Time is of the essence!!
2) DON’T “SAY CHEESE!” Try to think of funny things that you know will make your kids laugh. For my kids at this session, I sang “Old McDonald had a fart. . .with a stink, stink here. . .etc.” They were shocked that I said it and it made them giggle. Of course, they probably went to school and sang it to their friends (and then their friends went home and told their parents). But hey, at least I got them to laugh! Think of a silly song you can make up for your kids and then surprise them with it!
3) BRIBE. Buy them a little present at the dollar store and wrap it. If you really want to get a good picture, ask them to help you out and tell you that it means a lot to you. And tell them if they really try their best, they can have a special treat or little present.
4) BE SILLY and let them be silly! mix up running around/having fun shots with “posed” shots. Kids need to move around! Try to capture them moving as well as posing/smiling.
5) THINK OF A LOVED ONE and tell them that the picture is for them. Sometimes if I tell me kids that the picture is for Grammie or Daddy, they instantly think of that person and I get a great smile from them!
6) LET THEM BE IN CHARGE for part of the shoot. Ask them where they think they could sit, or how they could pose. Involving them makes them want to participate more. The shot of my son sitting on the tree stump was totally his idea, and I just love it!
Do you have any ideas that help you when photographing your kids? Please share! I’m always looking for new ideas!