How to take photos of your kids and keep it fun for them
Taking photos of little ones is no small undertaking! I’m all for hiring the pro to come and photograph your family, but since you’re a fan of here-and-there snapshots and being able to photograph your kiddos every day, here are a few tips and tricks to help out.
Take photos of your kids and keep it fun for them
1) Reframe “photos” for your kids
If you’ve had a bad family photo experience because your kids threw fits or because the photographer wasn’t the best fit for your family, it’s time to reframe family photos for your family.
These photos are something you’ll share for years to come. Christmas time? Picture you all sitting around and looking through a box of images together. You’re probably not going to care if you are all looking at the camera with big, cheesy grins. You’re going to think back on that day and remember whether it was a stressful experience or whether you couldn’t stop laughing.
I would much rather have the laughing memories.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I’d love a photo of all of us with big, cheesy grins. I can’t help it. It’s cute. But I can’t make that the goal when I’m having photos taken of our family or I will just ruin the whole experience.
I can see it now: “Look! Look here. Hannah-han-han-hannahhhhhhhhh. Danielllllllllll. Oh yuck, don’t eat that. Look here. Daniel, that’s not funny— Daniel, don’t eat your boogers!” Then, of course I’d look down to discover that someone spit up — or just spit — on me.
Or I could just focus on tickling my children and loving on them — no matter what smile they’re using — and enjoy the whole process.
I think my kiddos would rather have those memories.
So if you’ve had a bad experience, hit “reset” with your family and redefine family photos. Explain that they are going to be fun! Stay focused on what really matters — not on the dirt they got on their pants or on the fact that it’s rainy or their fake smiles.
Explain to your kids that there will be a time to play and a time to play goofy games! Then, give them the opportunity for both of those things...
2) Give your kids something to do
Go to a park and let your children play during the shoot. Chase them around and make them laugh. Plan on them needing to take bathroom breaks while you’re trying to set up that perfect shot. There will always be photos you want to take that you don’t get to take. But if you keep things fun for your kids, you will have a chance to make that happen tomorrow.
A few things I plan on doing with Daniel and Hannah this summer (with one or both)...
- Eat ice cream on a bench at the park
- Feed the ducks
- Blow bubbles together
- Have a tea party picnic
- Take the dogs for a walk
- Get something from the dollar spot in Target and incorporate it into a shoot somehow
3) Make up goofy games
Those standing still shots that are cute as can be of your little ones? You can make them happen with peek-a-boo games, silly faces games, or any game you can make up.
I like to think of the kind of character shot I want of Daniel and move backwards from that. So if I want a photo of him smiling at the camera, I will look through my camera and ask him to show me a happy face! If that doesn’t do the trick, I’ll ask him to show me a mad face and then a happy face. For whatever reason, Daniel thinks it’s hilarious to scrunch his nose and his eyebrows so it works for me! But something else that could work is asking what a silly face looks like!
After his birthday party, I wanted to take a photo of him with some of the balloons from his party. He loves balloons but he was ready to get in the car and continue his birthday adventure. So while Isaac was putting Hannah in the car, I asked him to see if he could use his balloons as a lasso. He’s also really into cowboys right now (hence the cowboy boots) so it was a win for him!
Yes, I’m all for obedience! But have memories of your childhood gets to be a fun process — not a stressful one.
Or let’s say you want a silly jumping picture because that describes your babe to a T. Just apply that same principal of making it a game: ask your kiddo to jump from one leaf to the other! Once they do that a few times, you can ask them to make a silly face while they jump.
4) Let them see their picture
Little ones love to see their photos on the camera! Well, actually everyone loves seeing their photo on the camera. It can feel vulnerable for someone to point an object at you and command you to do things. And you’re just supposed to do them? Ha! I think it makes sense why it feels so vulnerable.
So asking your kids if they want to see the photos will be a huge hit. When they start asking to see after every single photo, you can just say, “We will take 10 photos and then you can see alllllll of them!” Then you can count to 10. When in doubt, make it a game!
5) Ask them what kind of pictures they want to take
This is one of my favorite tips! I’m always surprised by how many ideas Daniel has for a photo. I like to do exactly what he says — just like he did exactly what I said! If he asks for a photo of the rock, I take a photo of the rock. I like to listen to him and hear what kinds of pictures he wants.
As he gets older, I think this will translate into family photo ideas and ideas he has for photos of himself.
6) Reward them
It’s okay to reward your kids for taking photos! I like to say things like “Let’s celebrate the photos we took today! Yay!! We did it together!” We might drive around and look at the ducks as a reward or we might take the long way home or go get a special drink from a coffee shop. Or get Sonic water!
7) Edit and print your photos
I put all of my personal photos in a folder titled “PERSONAL” on my computer. I create 1 folder for each month and put all of the final images in that folder. Then, at the end of the year, it will be easy to go back and make a family storybook (something I’m hoping to do this year).
I’m just going to make it part of each month (or each quarter) to print our family photos to give to family and hang in our home.
You and me both! Pin this image so you can come back to it anytime.
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Happy shooting! Photographing your little ones doesn’t have to be stressful one bit. It really can be a time your whole family looks forward to.