If you’ve spent any time attempting to photograph young children, you’ll know that they have their own special set of challenges, ones that can make it a little difficult to get great photos. Here are some tips for taking amazing children’s lifestyle Photographs while wrangling all of that amazing energy (can I bottle that?!).
Tip One: Manage Energy Levels
Five-year-olds have a lot of energy, so there’s no way you are going to get them to stay still long enough for a posed photograph. The best approach is to plan your shoot for after an activity like soccer, swimming, or playing at the park. Once they are appropriately worn out (and ideally, fed) it should be easier to get them to cooperate. If that doesn’t work or it’s an impromptu shoot, I find that if I have a huge cup of tea and about 3 energy bars I can keep up with them – they won’t slow down so it is best to just go with it and capture the energy!
Bonus Tip: The faster the child, the faster the shutter speed! Use action mode if you are unsure.
Kids at this age love making faces, so much so that you may look back at your photos of your five-year-old and have a hard time finding one with an authentic smile or neutral expression. The key is to get them distracted with an activity and then try to catch them when they look up at you. That, or let them get all the funny faces out of their system first, so you can get some sincere smiles later or in between the fake grins.
Tip Three: Interaction
You will get the most direct and sincere looks if you can interact with your child while you are taking photos. Ask them about their favorite story, what they did today, or ask them about an upcoming holiday or event, and then snap away while they answer you. If there’s another person around you can have them interact with your child and can take shots just off to the side so they are less put off by the camera lens.
Kids have fantastic imaginations and love to role play. Make a boring photo shoot fun by having them dress up in costume and get into character. Fairies, princesses, pirates, and superheroes are great fantasy shoot ideas, plus they probably already have at least a few costumes. For a change up, you can also let your child dress up as mommy or daddy, which of course they will think is hilarious. Hide and seek is also a great game to play – especially if you are able to catch their reactions when you find them! One of the keys to photographing your five-year-old is to keep changing the game before it gets boring.
Tip Five: Sidelines
Catch your child at the park, playing soccer, or just keeping busy with a good zoom lens and decent timing. While these may not be formal shots, sometimes they are better as you get a glimpse into their world and let their true personalities and idiosyncrasies shine. Just to let them play while you take photos, which offers a nice break from the “bossy” shots (as they would call them). Lifestyle photography has its own set of charms.