Graduating from photographing individual children to groups, particularly photographing younger siblings, can pose a real challenge to even the most experienced photographer. Besides taking a deep breath and counting to ten, here are a few tips to get some good poses with younger siblings.
Start with Proximity
In order to take photos of siblings, you need to get them closer together. This can sometimes present a problem if your kids tend to start swinging when they are in close proximity. Try to find some common ground to get them together – even if it’s simply their favorite cartoon on an iPad. Hopefully, with really young kids you can get one on another’s lap, even if it’s for just a few moments, and then you can move on to something else.
Make sure your camera is ready before you get started, so you can capture photos as soon as you get them next to each other. Start with a wider aperture, but not too wide (f/5.6, for example) and a medium shutter speed to reduce blurring (1/100s).
Find an Activity
If kids aren’t content sitting still, find a task for them to do together. This might mean making a bit of a mess, but it’s a fair price to pay for great photos of your kids. Lego, PlayDoh, cooking, decorating cookies, all of these tasks can get your siblings together so you can take their photo.
You’ll need lots of light, regardless of where you’re taking the photo or what they are doing.
Play a Game
Even young children can follow instructions if you make it fun! Play Simon says and let each child have a turn (while you play along), and then take photos while giving instructions, such as:
– “give a hug”
– “hold hands”
– “jump up and down”
– “play leapfrog”
Faster movement requires a faster shutter speed, so be prepared!
Let them Go
Trying to keep siblings contained can be like trying to herd cats, it will only work for so long. Take a deep breath and let them move on to other activities. Keep an eye on them, though, you might be surprised to find them reading a book in the corner later, or having an in-depth discussion of their favorite desserts.
Find a Location
Homes can feel confining, so head outside if you feel your current photography session isn’t working for you or your kids. The playground is a great place to get your kids to play together (nicely, hopefully), so is a Merry-go-Round, if you know there’s one in the area. On rainy days, head to the mall or even go to the library, if you can find a corner where your camera won’t disturb anyone.
Practice makes perfect – the more time your kids spend on the other side of the camera, the more comfortable they will be with posing for you.