Having kids in the studio is loads of fun, BUT you have to be quick! Its a little different from photographing outdoors as you have lots to distract and entertain kids “in the wild”. Photographing pre school children in the studio means you have to be prepared well in advance for the session and be prepared for anything. For some children, they may never have been photographed with all the big lights – for some this creates a great deal of interest, for others is daunting. I like to demystify the “equipment” for kids at the beginning of the session by showing them what it does while having fun, asking silly questions and sometimes wearing something stupid on my head….whatever it takes to get genuine smiles!
Studio portraits are all about creating spontaneous moments and not “over posing” children. Getting them to do something silly and anticipate the giggles and laughter that follow is what I’m after to create great kids portraits. Kids portrait sessions are always fun and light hearted and at all costs I avoid 3 words – no, smile and cheeeese. These words end in over posed, fake smiles that just don’t cut the mustard and in some cases tears. When a child forces a smile they use a completely different set of facial muscles to a real and natural smile.
Keeping the session moving quickly is important, if something is not working, I like to move on and engage in something the child enjoys. Being silly during a session works. I’m sure there are many parents out there that think I’m a nutter after the session, but all of that pales into insignificance when they fall in love with their family portraits. Getting the kids chatting about something they love and then throwing in a random silly question gets them having a great time. For younger children, I often have my camera helper (Mr. Frog) who sticks his tongue out and makes silly sounds – he has earnt his keep over the years!
Kids in the studio are great and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter where you have a portrait session as long as everyone has fun and great portraits are made!