Sometimes photo shoots with little kids don’t go quite as planned. When kids are resisting getting “nice” pictures taken, it is sometimes better to let go of the need to “control” the photo shoot. Now, I’m not saying let the children run buck wild and allow the photo shoot to go to hell in a handbasket! No, no, no.
Instead, I give the child just a little bit of control, and take some candid shots to get them warmed up and willing to work with me. By investing in the child’s interests and wants, and letting them know their needs are going to be met by me, they are then much more likely to comply with my requests for posed pictures later in the session.
I start by talking directly to the child. I ask them what they want to be doing right now, and if it’s a reasonable request, I try my best to comply. If it isn’t, I empathize, explain why that particular request can’t happen (or is unreasonable), and then suggest something else instead.
This photo shoot is a perfect example of how that happened, and how it led to some beautiful shots of the child, as well as some really fun and cute candid shots too.
Grama (pictured) came to visit, and wanted some photos of the family before she went back home. Now, Charlotte had some very different ideas for this outing. I talked to her, and she told me she didn’t want to take photos – she wanted to go swimming. Considering it was cold, overcast, and about half an hour before dinnertime, swimming was out of the question. I explained to her that we only had a little while to go for a walk and take some photos before dinnertime, and after dinner, Grama was going back to California, so this was our last chance to get some photos. Then, I asked her if she wanted to look for some pretty rocks with Grama before she left. Charlotte was thrilled with the idea!
By letting Charlotte have some control during the photo shoot, I was able to find some balance in the shoot between getting some fun candid shots of Charlotte and her Grama, and when I asked her to pose nicely, she was more than willing to comply! By meeting her halfway, and letting her know that her needs and desires were going to be respected, she was willing to meet me halfway and get some of those beautiful posed shots Grama wanted.