Are your kids always in the mood for you to take pictures? Ya, mine aren’t either! So here are a few tips for getting good pictures when your kid just isn’t in the mood. This is what I do for my own kids (but not for clients, because I will do whatever it takes to coax out a natural smile for clients). First off, my kids are all REALLY independent. They want to do things on their terms, a quality they get from their mom and dad. When you couple that with me taking pictures of them all the time, I’ve had to change my strategy and I’m happy with the results. I took out my camera last night because it was just such a beautiful evening. First I started with my 3 year old. She wanted to go to the playground but I wanted to get non-playground shots. I noticed she was loving the piles of cut grass on top of the lawn. She was having fun throwing it on her way to the playground, so I played her grass-throwing game and encouraged her to keep throwing piles. This got me the five or ten minutes I wanted before she hit the slides at the park. This was easy-peesy considering just moments before she didn’t want to take pics. Here are the results…..(and keep scrolling for what to do when it’s not so easy)
After a few minutes with her, I moved on to my almost six year old. She was already playing with her friends. I wanted her to walk across the street for pretty light for 2 minutes and then she could go back to playing with her friends (no more than 20 steps away). Not a super tall order I thought, 20 steps and 2 minutes for an extra hour or two of outside play time after dinner! She walked over to me, but was not happy about it. When I look back through my pictures I want to remember my kids faces, the happy and the sad expressions, the pouty lips, the looks of amazement, I want it all. Not just smiles, and especially not cheesy-smiles. She was laying on “the grouch” pretty thick so I decided to just roll with it for a few minutes and snapped a few which you can see here:
I wanted something a little less moody at the end so I decided to strike up a conversation, “What was your favorite ride at Disney World?” She immediately looked to the side and got the cutest expression on her face while she imagined all the rides there were to choose from (see last picture):
So my lessons learned are:
- Try to get your kids excited about their surroundings like I did with the piles of grass, however bugs, rocks, airplanes, sticks have all worked for me before, just play off their interests.
- When they aren’t interested in ANYTHING you have to offer which often happens with older kids, then strike up a conversation. “What was your favorite ride at DisneyWorld?” or “What is your favorite band?” or “What is your favorite Princess?” Obviously the questions vary by age, but you’d be surprised what a simple question can do.
Hope this helps!