How to pin down a child for a photo.
Updated: Sep 30, 2019
Before I became a photographer, I was and still am, a mother. Being a mother without a doubt helps me work with children in an organic way but I don’t believe it’s something that can’t be learnt, with a bit of patience, planning and knowing how to bring the fun! Before I start a shoot with a child I firstly prep for the age group. Whether it’s getting a basket full of superhero toys for the toddler boys, or a bag full of intriguing goodies for little girls to dress up in. I first plan to bring the fun.
I look at the set through the eyes of a child, imagine what will interest them, how it will make them feel, will it be scary? Is it exciting? How can you make them laugh?
I explain what’s happening as soon as they walk through the door as having a toddler myself, I know the lighting rig and the constant flashing can be a bit much at times but I also know that if I make it fun and talk to them, befriend them, half the battle is won. If they trust you, kids usually always respond well if you get down to their level and talk to them, they are only tiny humans after all. I will have already visualised a series of shots I would like to achieve out of the session and if shooting with children I would have planned the types of shots that play to both their patience and their intrigue. Obviously you can’t always achieve this but you can start with this. Always thinking; how can I bring the fun? A child attention span on a shoot, usually lasts around 20 mins (if I’m lucky) within this time, I prep them, get to know them, play with them and grab as many photos of them at the start of their engagement period as possible.
If I’m very lucky, the shoot continues into the hour but the best shots to be had are usually during their break time or at the start of their sessions. After that, you have grab as much and as many of those little spontaneous moments that you can, before they open the wrath of boredom on you. You don’t need to be a mum to see when their fed up and ready to run for the exit! Just pay attention, have patience (a lot of patience) and be kind. It does help to be good with children though, it really just helps to get inside their head, what would keep you engaged and happy for a period? How would you feel with a camera constantly pointed in your face? What do kids like most in the world - do an element of that. Let them lead, don’t freak them out and always, BRING THE FUN. Lucye.