My childhood memories of photography include my mom forcing me into clothes I’d never wear in real life, teasing my hair to look like an 80’s pop star, and making me pose with a fake smile and my head ‘tilted just a tad more to the left.’
The result was pictures of me looking like the complete opposite of who I actually was as a kid.
Thankfully, those forced photo sessions are pretty much a thing of the past. Today, parents would rather capture the true personalities of their kids – and not just once or twice a year, but on a daily basis.
Here are a few tricks that I’ve found helpful in my photo sessions. Try them at home to make this sometimes-painful activity a lot more fun!
1. Tickle Monster
Ideal age: 6 months+
Tickling elicits crazy amounts of laughter in almost any child (I say “almost” only because I was the kid that always started crying 10 seconds into the tickle game).
Sometimes you don’t even have to actually tickle them to get this sort of reaction – just the anticipation of the tickle monster is enough to make them laugh hysterically.
Ideal age: 3 months – 3 years
Peek-a-boo only works on kids until they’re about 3 years old, but until then, it’s pretty much the most amazing trick ever when you need them to sit still and look excited.
…plus, you’re already holding something that’s hiding your eyes. Just pop out from behind a different side of the camera each time, and you’ll likely have a laser-focused kid anxiously waiting for the next surprise!
3. Ask Questions
Ideal age: 2-10 years
Taking the time to ask kids questions about the things they’re interested in can really make them light up.
Say your daughter loves watching Dora the Explorer. Your questions can be as simple as, “What’s your favorite episode of Dora? What happens in it? Do you like Dora or Diego better?”
The trick is to spend the majority of your time not letting your camera come between the two of you. Just lift up your camera occasionally, capture a couple shots, and go back to your conversation.
4. Role Model
Ideal age: Siblings under 8 years
If you have multiple kids, try asking the older one to sit where you want them both to sit, or do something you want them both to do. Try telling him that his younger sibling doesn’t know what to do and needs him to show her. Then, you can tell her something like, “I bet you can’t sit on the bench like your brother can!”
5. Simon Says
Ideal age: 2-6 years
When you’re a kid, and Simon says to do something as part of a game, it’s much more fun than when mom, dad or the weird photographer lady tell you to do it.
Simon Says can be used to get kids to sit where or how you want them to sit, to get them to make a face you love, or even to get them to laugh by telling them to do something silly. More than any other game, Simon Says really seems to take the work out of getting great photos of your kids, and turns it into a game they’ll look forward to playing!
I hope these tips help you get some fun & natural shots of your little ones.
I’d love to see how they turn out, as well as any other tricks you might have for getting kids to show some personality!