Natural NOT posed. You’ve got your camera out. The light is perfect. The kids are playing and then it happens… They see your camera and it’s over. They stiff up, or they strike the cheesy pose, or if they’re like mine, they run and hide. The moment is over and MOM is frustrated. What to do.
The NUMBER ONE thing you can do is…
1.) Bring your camera out often. Kids will become more comfortable with consistency. Don’t point the camera at them… let the moments happen and photograph whats happening rather than your child looking at the camera. In this session, my daughter was putting together a birthday card before her friends party. I captured it all without telling her to look at me. I never let her know that I was actually pointing the camera at her. This means I was moving around and not staring right at her… this makes everyone VERY self aware, including your kids. It’s also important to remember to keep it brief. This little session lasted about 10 minutes… They will forget your taking their pictures if you give them a little space and just let them play, or craft or (you fill in the blank). And actually natural shots are far more appealing than a forced contrived pose that your kiddo doesn’t want to do…. so keep your camera out and shoot often.
2.) Make sure they’re in comfortable clothes… this sounds like a no brainer, but I see it often. When you want to capture your kiddos, moms will put them in an outfit that isn’t a daily outfit… plan ahead. Lay out something cute and comfortable that morning. Let them be barefoot, I love keeping it simple. A white t-shirt, comfortable shorts… There is something sweet about a boy in blue jeans and no shirt. Make sure the outfit doesn’t distract from the photo. Avoid trendy cartoon characters, neon colors or busy patterns. Keep it simple and comfortable.
3.) Capture their CUTE QUIRKS! I love that my daughter pokes her tongue out when she’s concentrating. I love how she holds her pencil. There are things your kids do often that is totally worth documenting. These quirks are THEM… you’ll cherish these when they are big and so will they!!
4.) DETAILS…. don’t forget the details. Move around and capture it all. Their hands don’t stay chubby forever. Zoom in. I call them slices of life. I love documenting their clothes, their stuffed animals, dirty little feet. ALL OF IT… Capture the crayons, the legos, the gaming controls. Capture what they love…
And LAST BUT NOT LEAST
5.) DONT GET FRUSTRATED!!! yeah right… it’t hard when they’re being stinkers and ruin the moment. I’ve yelled at my kids and turned into mommy dearest… Heres the thing. keep it simple… don’t try to create this elaborate set and expect your kids to perform. Let them play, take a step back, watch from a distance and let things happen. Keep the activity age appropriate or go to the park. If you have a little one that can’t swim and is a runner… don’t head for a pond or lake. Don’t direct your kids. In my experience, kids AND DADS… do NOT like to pose for the camera. Move your feet. Set up a fun activity, around good light and then let them go. YOU move around them to capture the action. Let them get dirty and let things occur organically. If you camp out in one spot you’ll easily get frustrated because without fail, they’ll have their backs to you. So take a deep breath, be patient and wait for it to happen. Just be an observer, not a participant. The most impactful images usually involve the subject, and an activity (not the subject, activity and photographer). And… if it doesn’t work, chalk it up to practice and try again tomorrow. The point is to keep documenting your little ones, because I promise, they don’t stay little long. TELL YOUR STORY!