How to Hopefully Take Great Pictures of Your Own Kids | Halifax Nova Scotia Children’s Photographer

Although I love candid pictures of my kids, sometimes I want a picture that’s a little more formal for the wall or hand out to grandparents.  However, that’s not always easy to do. Often, people think that when you’re a photographer, taking great pictures of your own kids comes naturally. This may give me a bit of an edge because I do it more often, but sometimes, being a photographer just makes taking pictures of your own kids worse.  See, I can be a perfectionist when it comes to posed pictures. I know what I’m after, and it’s very frustrating when I feel like my boys aren’t making it happen.  When I’m taking pictures of someone else’s children I can almost always get a nice, natural smile or expression, but if I so much as whisper “Picture Day” to my own, their memories of past experiences result in groans and gnashing of teeth the likes of which aren’t often witnessed in pre-apocalyptic times.

With all this in mind, here are some things I’ve learned that I thought I’d pass along:

 

 

cool preteen boy

1. Bribery works.  Period. Especially when you have a kid or two who would much rather be doing something else. Taking nice pictures of my kids is usually a once or twice a year thing and it’s worth it to me to make it worth it to them.  Tell them what’s expected of them, pick something that your children want and use it to your advantage.  For my kids, money talks, and so I pay my kids to be in pictures.  I don’t pay them a lot, mind you – usually just $2 or $3 – but if they complain it’s not enough, I just remind them that, as their mom, I could just MAKE them do it for free.

kid acting cool web

2.  Relax.  Once you’ve established what’s expected of your kids and what the reward is, relax.  If you’re constantly getting in their faces, fixing their hair, telling them to smile and getting frustrated when they don’t do it “right”, they’re going to get uptight, and feed off your frustration.  And when everyone is angry and/or crying, the pictures just aren’t as pretty.

 

happy child outside web

3.  Engage.  If you’re taking pictures of your own kids, don’t use “Say Cheese!”.  You’ll get a much better response if you talk or sing or tell jokes while you’re behind the camera. Once you see that look that’s your child at her best, snap it. And, if you need to pull in another family member or friend to stand behind you and make your kid giggle, then go for it.  In our family, few people can make my boys laugh for pictures like their brothers.

brothers laughing web

4. Let it go.  Some details are important, some aren’t – figure what hill is worth dying on.  For me, in the case of these pictures, sometimes it was about letting my 10-year-old pick out his own shirt.  Yes, I knew it wouldn’t match anything else that his siblings were wearing since it had giant neon stripes on it, but he was a lot happier about pictures wearing something he picked out. Sure, in 20 years his kids would make fun of him for his choice, but that just made it sweeter for me.

silly brothers web

5. Know when enough is enough.  I really wanted a great picture of all three of my boys smiling at me, but we’d been at it a while and the novelty had long since worn off.  I knew I already had great pictures of each of them individually and some of them together laughing.  They were tired, I was far from relaxed and we all wanted to be done and go home, so I decided to call it a day.  We never did get the last picture I wanted, but we did get this one.  I’d say that I definitely got my six bucks’ worth.

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