Tips and Tricks for Photographing Children – A Guest Post by Alex Pominville

Image taken by Julia
While chatting with Julia on Twitter, she said I could write a guest post for her blog. Awesome! I love writing guest posts. I’ve actually written quite a few. But I’ve never really been able to figure out topics or ideas. I have the same problem with my own blog. Knowing that I’m a photographer, Julia suggested I write about photographing children and any tips that I have. I have three main ones. 
When it comes to photographing children, it’s a lot harder than photographing adults, nature and sometimes even animals. Children are squirmy, hyper, and will generally have their own idea on what they want to do and not do. I’ve quickly learned, even with pulling out my Point & Shoot (Canon Powershot), if a child doesn’t want his or her picture taken then it’s not going to happen. Oh you can try, and I have before, but ultimately, you’re not going to get very good photographs.

fun and games!
An example of a bad photograph from Julia’s Flickr 
Tip #1: Don’t push them! Seriously, just don’t. You’ll upset the child, you’ll upset the parents and you’ll upset yourself. Take a break or even reschedule if you have to. 
Because the majority of my photography work is done outside, there are loads of space for children to run around and plenty of things to distract them. I try to sit down with the child (if they’re old enough to understand bribes/compromises) and talk to them about the photo shoot. Explain what you want to do and how they need to help you. I try to take several shots, then give the child 5 minutes of running around, and then take several more shots. Giving the child time to play has always helped me and sometimes the best shots are of them running around and playing. 

Tip #2: Be prepared for the shoot to run a little longer. There’s no need for it to run anything more than 15 minutes later than necessary in my opinion. Give the child some time to be a child without a camera shoved in their face. 

I love props. What female photographer doesn’t? They’re so cute and precious! I want to get my hands on every single fun prop I can possibly find. But that’s not realistic. For one, I can’t afford it. I also find that, as great as they are, they can sometimes distract from the subject of the photograph. I’ve seen that happen in some photographs; the headband, tutu, bowl, blocks, etc catch my eye first and then the child. The same goes for backgrounds. Some, as beautiful as they are, distract me from the child. 

Tip #3: Props can be great, but they’re not the star of your photograph (unless you’re giving the photograph to the prop maker for their portfolio), the child is. 
There you have it. My top 3 Tips & Tricks when it comes to photographing children. I feel that anyone can benefit from these tips; parents who simply want lovely pictures of their children, photographers just starting out, or photographers who need gentle reminders. 

You can find Pominville Photography at the following places:
Image taken from Julia’s Flickr