I’ve talked a lot about capturing the every day moments. How important it is to shoot the daily routines of your family life, but what about posed shots? What about getting everyone cleaned up and looking at the camera at the same time? Do your kids hate that? Do they moan, groan and complain when you suggest it?
Canon 5D Mark II
The majority of my family shots are unposed, unplanned, and disorganized, but I do like a planned session every now and then. And I love doing what I call a loosely planned session. Let’s take a look at how I do both.
Sometimes I clean my kids up, dress them in what I want them to wear and place them somewhere to get the look I want. It doesn’t always go like I want it to. Almost every single time with 4 kids and 4 personalities, I have at least one who is in a grumpy mood. Can you spot the grump in this picture?
Canon 5d Mark II
For these shots I told my kids what to wear, I placed them where I wanted them and just started snapping. With some direction and some jokes (that half worked) to get them giggling. And there’s the bribe involved. Afterwards we’ll go for ice cream.
Sometimes the posed shots work, sometimes they don’t. I don’t stress out about them and I try to make them fun.
What works a little better for me is the loosely planned session. I let the kids choose their own clothes (but I do brush hair and clean them up). We go to a fun location that they enjoy and I follow them around snapping while they play.
This works for 3 reasons.
1. No Mom chosen clothes. (You’d be surprised how much this matters.)
2. Interesting location where they can play/explore makes it fun.
3. They relax and are more natural.
Almost always when I take them to play somewhere and “take my camera along” they ask me over and over again to take their picture. They all climbed up on these dirt piles and wanted their pictures made.
This is the secret to getting shots of difficult kids.
My son hates to have his picture made, but not when he’s doing something he thinks is cool and not when he’s playing baseball.
My teens can be sensitive to photos now that they are older, but this method still works with them too.
It’s a sneaky way to get their mind off what you really want to do which is get pictures of them looking normal and having fun.
While they’re playing, when they are still you’re all Snap, Snap, Snap.
If they notice and get annoyed ignore them and start taking pictures of flowers.
Then when they are distracted sneak back up on them again. Like you would an animal in the wild.
Try it yourself.
Homework: take your kids to a fun location and follow them around with your camera. Report back on how it works.
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