Professional photo sessions have increased in popularity in the last few years, especially if weíre talking about special occasions like pregnancy, weddings, and anniversaries. And, while they usually represent a great way to have some fun while trying out new things and posing at your best, they can easily turn into a disaster if you bring your children along.
Most kids, no matter the age, wonít have enough patience to stand still for more than a couple of minutes, so the common rules of photography composition donít really apply. If you do want to expand your portfolio and include some kid photo sessions for various occasions, here are the golden rules you need to follow.
Get them to trust you
Itís easy for children to trust their parents and act naturally in front of them but if youíre an outsider, even a distant relative or a family friend, small children might not be comfortable with having you around. This means all the pictures you will take will have something fake in them.
If you want to avoid that, the best you can do is get to know your models prior to the photoshoot. If the parents agree, you should arrive at the photo-shooting location at least one hour before to make sure all the decors are in order and spend some time knowing your subjects.
Since we are talking about children, it truly depends on their mood and behavior, so donít take it personally if they donít like you at first. Some children are as sticky as glue, while others will hide behind their parents or wonít want to greet you. If that happens, offering them small treats (with their parentsí blessing) and smiling at them represent the best ways to become closer.
Watch the time
As we previously mentioned, children will rarely stay still for more than a couple of minutes at a time, so you need to establish the perfect time and duration for the photoshoot.
Generally speaking, a professional photographer will need anywhere between half an hour and one hour for some good photos, depending on the age of the baby. If weíre talking about newborns, it is best to not exceed half an hour, preferably during their nap time so they wonít get fussy, cranky or hungry.
Toddlers can stay focused for half an hour up to 45 minutes, depending on the time of the day and their energy. We donít suggest scheduling the photoshoots first thing in the morning, midday or after 5 PM because they will also be cranky, sleepy, moody or hungry. This leaves you a small window of opportunity, so you should probably start at around 10-11 AM or between 2 PM and 5 PM.
Posed photos may work for adults or family photos but when youíre doing a photo session with children, the best way to truly capture their spirit is to get candid or impromptu
. When children are looking at their parents, discovering something for the first time or smile genuinely, without looking at the camera - these are the best moments you should look for as a photographer.
It takes patience and an eye for detail but your photos will look amazing. You can even have them play with the lenses or accessories of your camera that you donít use and canít be broken if you want them to get closer to you.
Prepare the decor
Some parents want themed photo sessions, according to the time of the year or the special moment they are celebrating. Apart from the traditional pregnancy/newborn photo sessions, most parents will opt for special Christmas, Easter, and Halloween packages.
And, while the decors for these photo shootings are cute, you can take a step further and design your studio to appeal to children of various ages, all year-round. This means you can get any type of toys or accessories that can tell a story - from police cars to cartoon decors, drum sets or pianos. And, if you donít know exactly how much it will cost you, you can find the perfect setting by reading more
Let kids be kids
Working with children can be challenging but extremely rewarding at the end of the day. So, in order to get the best results, you should let children act naturally and be themselves, whether they are introverts or extroverts. If they donít like having their photos taken, you can propose a role play where they can dress up as their favorite animal or character
At the end of the day, you want your photos to be as natural as possible and the little ones to have a good time.