The following post & images provided by Helen John of Helen John Photography
Every parent wants a great photo of their kid, but making this happen can feel next to impossible. I photograph kids for a living; sometimes 10 families in a day. Here are my best tips for ending up with some keepers of your fidgety, fussy or unruly kid.
1) Get down on their level. Kids don’t want to be talked down to, especially when you want something from them. Kneel down, and engage the child in a story or a series of questions about their favorite things (little people love to talk about themselves just as much as egocentric adults.) :
2) For mobile babies...For mobile babies who don’t respond well to instruction yet, food/treats are a great way to keep them in one spot for more than 1/100th of a second. Sit ‘em down in a pretty spot, drop cheerios in their lap, then make some funny noises, honk a horn, shake some bells... anything to get them to look at the camera and hopefully smile.
3) Make it a game. “i bet you can’t smile” works, but not for every kid. Sometimes you need to put a toy, phone, rock, etc on your head and say watch me balance... and purposely let it fall off. Other times I give the kid a ball and tell them to throw it at me.
4) If you want to get your kids in a picture together... where it looks like they don’t hate each other, ask them to check the other’s nose for boogers. Watch laughter ensue.
5) If there’s another adult or older child around, tell them to pretend to trip and fall right behind whomever is taking the picture. Works like a charm.
6) Bribery. It’s your friend.
7) Act like a fool. When all else fails, if you make fun of yourself and act like a clown it will be pretty irresistibly funny or at least will create a laid back atmosphere where your kid can feel relaxed.
8) Keep your cool. Getting visibly angry/frustrated/annoyed at your child for lack of cooperation is going to have a 100% failure rate. Keep those feelings bottled up until it’s time to open a bottle later that night. ;)
Hi, I’m Helen. I settled down three miles from the home I grew up in and absolutely love the DC area. It’s where my heart is. I’m a full time portrait photographer and mom of two young energetic boys that love small creatures and getting dirty. when I do something, it’s always with passion. my mantra is work hard, laugh often, choose happiness.