I have three little boys.
As you can imagine with three little ones you run into a major problem when taking photos. They never stay in one place for long. I can’t even turn on my camera before they have disappeared!
Even with my own little band of chaos I still manage to capture images that I cherish, images that are full of laughter, creativity, and the boys individual spirits.
Here’s 5 ways you can get your kids to be excited to participate:
Talk Up Not Down
Kids LOVE to participate, they love to be a part of a process. Get down on their level and have an adult sounding conversation of what kind of photo you want to create. Make them feel the importance of the role that they will play. My conversations usually go something like this: “hey guys! I had this idea I wanted to try for a picture. I want to get a feeling for the craziness that is a part of our day. So I’m going to put this laundry basket here and fold some laundry with the baby in my lap and I just want you guys to run in circles around me.” Talking to them in a serious adult voice makes them feel like they are about to participate in something very important and they are usually eager to follow instructions.
2. Be Prepared Before Hand
Have your camera set up, your settings adjusted, your focal point set. That way it’s easy for them to pop in, participate and pop back out. You’re keeping it simple and focusing on the fun.
3. Ask For Ideas
It feels good when someone asks you a question and truly values your input doesn’t it? Kids feel the same way. Ask them what they would like to do, what ideas they have, or what would make the picture better. A lot of times their ideas are completely off the wall (my sons favourite “let’s all pretend we are picking boogers!”) but sometimes you get real gems! Even if their ideas are not ones you love (or won’t print for a family album (ahem boogers) take the photo anyway and laugh together as you look at the back of the camera.
My kids and I will ‘trade’ ideas. I’ll do my idea, then one of theirs, then one of mine.
4. What Do They Love?
Ask if you can photograph something you know your kids are really into. My second son will let me photograph him all day long if it involves showing off his toy tractors. You can ask them to show you how they play with it, or draw, or paint, or skip rope. These images capture a real segment of your children’s lives.
It doesn’t even have to be a physical object. Some of my favourite images are us sitting just talking about what they love. Their eyes light up, the laugh, they chat, they smile real big when they mention something they like and you respond with “you LOVE Spiderman!?” in a shocked happy voice.
5. Reward Good Behaviour
Always - ALWAYS - end on a high note so that they will be excited the next time you approach them camera in hand. I usually dance to the kitchen going ‘who wants a special snack?’ or ‘who want’s to build a huge block tower with me?’ I offer something that I know they love, making photo taking feel like a rewarding task rather than a chore where mom is begging them to ‘say cheese’. I’ve even heard in my house “hey mom, I’ll trade you a photo for a cookie!”
Hey There! Did you know you can get tips, tricks & behind the scenes right into your inbox? Pop your email in below and I’ll see you in your inbox!