If you’re a family photographer, being able to coax kids out of their shells to show their true personalities is one of the most important things to do during a family photo session. It takes a little bit of time but it has the greatest payoff when everyone is able to feel comfortable and enjoy the session. I’ve been a photographer for 5 years and I’ve worked with all kinds of personalities. These are my recommendations for family photographers.
1. Build a relationship with the kids
Ask them about their interests. Some of my go-to topics are books, tv shows, music, school subject, video games, holidays, and even dinosaurs. You get the picture. Listen to them talk about their interests and they’ll start to open up more in front of the camera.
2. Give space/breaks when they need it
When you’re photographing a family it’s full of gives and asks. Asking kids to pose and smile and pay attention. In return, give back by giving space and breaks when they’re needed.
3. Let kids push the button/be the photographer
Sometimes it helps the kids to understand what happening if they get a chance to “be the photographer” take a second to show them how it works and let them push the button and take a photo of their parents or siblings. Once they’ve taken a turn being the photographer, then they can take a turn being the person having their photo taken.
4. Ask what they want to do
Make a family session feel relatable by turning it into something the kids can understand from their everyday life. For example, I’ll do your idea if you do my idea. Ask if there is a particular pose or silly face they want to do and then ask them to do your pose.
5. Bring music
Nothing helps kids relax more than music. I’m telling you, it’s my secret weapon for all of my family sessions whether it’s a young family or a family with teenagers. I have a couple of playlists with classic songs that everyone will love and it makes for a really fun mood during the family session.
6. Play Games
All of the games! I’m taking races, Follow the Leader, biggest laugh, piggyback jousting, upside down, paint mom’s face with your fingers, tell mom what you love about her, attack dad, jumping up and down, clapping games, exploring, peek a boo, etc. You get the picture. Making it a game takes the focus away from you and your camera and turns it back on the family members.
With kids, a lot of the time it’s turning your photography session into something that feels familiar and comfortable. Taking turns, playing music, and sharing information about what they’re doing and why can really help kids open up and feel more comfortable. Remember when working with families, always ask before you touch. For example, can I help you or would you like a dad to help? This is another way to make sure that kids feel comfortable.