Kid’s personalities differ from one family to another
Every family is different and getting the best portraits of your children will always be slightly different to getting the best from another family’s children. So you need to go with what your family’s likes are, what they like to do and the activities they like to do. Are they campers? Are they outdoor people? Are they sporty types? Or are your kids the studious, quiet type? There’s no use trying to set up a big, elaborate, loud event for quiet children because that would just freak them out and they won’t feel natural. The outcome will not match your children’s own true personalities.
Where the portraits will be taken is important
The time of day and the lighting is dependent on the child as well. I have a family who loves the beach and they are always up at the crack of dawn running down the beach. And this was a one-off because I have never done this before but they wanted to capture the first light coming up over the ocean. So we arrived at Old Lady Island up at the Sunshine Coast before the sun rose and had them running around the beach and playing in that setting. And that was perfect for their family and as a result the portraits were stunning.
Teenagers usually prefer to be late afternoon so they can sleep in. And I have photographed many teenagers. The best way to disarm them is to just get them come with jeans, throw a t-shirt on, lean against an old scruffy wall and then you’ll get the best from them. There’s no stress. There’s no rush. It’s just easy going and casual and that’s who they are and that’s what they love.
Different techniques to suit children’s moods and interests
One young guy totally did not want to be photographed while he was smiling, that was ok, it suited his personality just to sit there and look away and that turned out to be his favorite shot.
He actually did not want to be photographed at all, but when his mother was looking at the photographs, he said “I’d really like that portrait of me up on my wall”.
The whole family was really surprised because here’s a guy who did not want to be photographed, (I think he was seventeen), and we got a great portrait of him just looking away, with a gorgeous old scruffy wall in the background. If you make it fun and be sensitive to their personalities, you’ll have a ball.
I have one family who, well there are so many families… one particular family had a little girl who was throwing tantrums before they even arrived. She was very adamant that she did not want to be photographed. I think she was three – two and a half – three, which is a difficult age and she arrived and the mother just looked at me in dismay, she was so upset because she was so excited about having portraits and here’s this little girl who absolutely refused to do anything they asked of her.
“Can you turn me into a fairy?…”
And so what I did was noticed that she has a fairy wand, I asked her if she could turn me into something.. I said “Oh, will you turn me into a puppy dog?” and I started jumping around and making dog noises and barking and panting and she started giggling. It was so funny. And then I said “Are you going to turn me into a froggy?” and I started leaping and make croaking noises and this little girl just totally relaxed. Her personality changed and she started having fun and the mother’s relief was immense, you could see it on her face, and she said “Oh, my goodness, what a turn around!”.
We turned everything into a game and if she did not want to play that game any more we changed to a different game, and we got the most beautiful portraits of her around the tree, playing fairy princess’ with her wand, turning me into a frog, or a dog, or whatever she decided to do.
Make sure children are comfortable before the shoot
Being hungry can often be the cause those tantrums. So whatever age your kids are make sure you feed them up, and before you come give them another snack. You may also want to subtly check their teeth before you arrive.
Most importantly, make it fun, make sure they’re content, and we’ll get their cheeky personalities on film, and you’ll love those images forever.
Until next time,
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