In one way, photographing older kids can be a ton of fun. They have amazing personalities, can take a bit of direction, and are (usually) more patient so you can plan longer photo sessions. However, without some preparation you might find yourself feeling a little lost – especially if your older kid has the typical strong personality. Here are some tips that can help you capture excellent older kid’s photos.
Tip One: Start with an Activity
Older kids can run roughshod if you give them a bit too much headway, so it’s best if you can start with an activity that they enjoy. If you’re not used to shooting fast-moving kids, avoid sports that might have them moving too quickly to capture accurately. On the other hand, you want to capture them doing something that reflects their personality.
Don’t force them into activities that they’re not used to, their lack of comfort will show through on the photos you capture. Aim for a mixture of close-up portraits and lifestyle shots where you can see them engaged in their activity, whatever it might be.
Tip Two: Ask them for Locations
Kids of all ages love to help out, and can be more easily engaged when they feel like they have some control over what they are doing. Ask them for three of their favorite local places – these could be beaches, parks, trails, playgrounds, malls, etc. If you have trouble getting a straight answer, try multiple choice of a few things you things that they’ll enjoy that will give you the opportunity for good photos.
Tip Three: Make it a Group
Some kids might feel a bit vulnerable or awkward when there’s a camera pointed at them, in this case, it can be beneficial to have a group photo session planned with friends, neighborhood kids or teammates. Your child will hopefully relax a bit being surrounded with friends and not feel like the center of attention. You can offer prints of your photos to parents, or post on a closed Facebook or Flickr group so they can view or download.
Tip Four: Use Props, Sparingly
While younger kids can look super cute in a cowboy hat, boots, and a feather boa; older kids can look contrived. Select props that highlight their personality, show a bit of color, or help to set them apart from their surroundings (such as a yellow raincoat in the green woods). Start with something that they are attached to, such as a favorite hat or coat.
Tip Five: Plan for Light
In case you don’t already know this, light is your best friend when it comes to children’s photography. It gives you the choice of a fast shutter speed to capture the action, or to play with other settings for creative photos. When you are working with low light, it becomes more challenging to get the right exposure, so in order to keep the complexities to a minimum it’s a wise idea to schedule your first few photoshoots with older children in areas where there is a lot of natural light to work with.
Tip Six: Keep it Simple
Don’t overthink older children’s photography – just jump in. Keep the settings and surroundings simple; once you have a few photoshoots under your belt, you’ll be ready to incorporate a few more techniques or try out some poses and different points of view.
Remember to have fun – if you’re not enjoying yourself, then your child likely won’t either. Older kids can also take a turn behind the camera and photography you or their surrounds. Who knows, you might have a budding photographer in the family!