Need help with kids in a photo session.

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Richard, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. Richard

    Richard TPF Noob!

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    Hello Everyone,

    I haven't posted in awhile, been busy moving and starting my business. Anyway I need some help, I was just on a photo shoot yesterday. It was of a family, consisting of 2 young boys around 5 and 7 years old. And one precious little girl that is 2 years old. Now I've done a couple of family sessions and to me child photography is one of the toughest kind of photography. The parents just wanted some great family portraits and some of the kids together, they really didn't want any individual shots.

    The problem was that the two boys were really WILD! I mean they were running around and when I tried to get them to hang out together they just didn't stay still or they would make crazy faces. Mom and Dad were trying to get them to calm down and but they wouldn't listen. I felt like a deer in headlights and I just couldn't think of anything to do to get great shots. Keep in mind this portrait is for a Holiday Card.

    I tried to have fun with them and do crazy stuff in hope that maybe after some fun we could get a decent family shot, but it would fail. You could tell the children just didn't care what the parents said.

    So what could have I done? I just didn't think the older children would be this bad if I had to make a guess I was more worried about the little girl but she was great!!
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If you can figure out a way to control wild children...then forget photography and write a book...because every parent would buy it. Actually, there are probably plenty of books on the subject, might be something to look into.

    I'm sure there are a million tricks. Sometimes you may need to get the parents out of there because they are too distracting for the kids. Maybe you need to crate a calming atmosphere a turn down the lights etc. Maybe you need to find something (anything) to help you make a connection with them. Maybe you need to bribe them (be good and I'll give you candy).

    Or maybe you need to take it up with the parents...tell them that they need to control their kids or else they won't get good photos. Some parents just aren't good at controlling their kids...have you ever watched that TV show Nanny 9-11?
     
  3. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    I was wonder if that was you I saw driving around last night.

    [​IMG]


    Just Kidding..................................

    But as I have found sometime there is no way to control them, and it can make things very difficult.
    I usually try to have some silly props and toys in my kit and I will let them play with them if they sil sit for a few good shots. The key is never give the bribe first
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    HA HA ;)

    I forgot to mention that I always try to schedule kid shoots when it's best for the kids. They will be a lot less willing to cooperate when it's their nap time, or when they are hungry etc. That is more important for babies and small children though, I'd hope that 5 and 7 year olds would be able to sit still for a few minutes though.
     
  5. rubbertree

    rubbertree TPF Noob!

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    I think that after you have done a reasonable job trying to get the kids to sit still and all that crap, if they are running around wild and the parents can't/won't control them, it's fair to call it a day. Tell the parents that you should reschedule for another date and time, one that will be better for the boys.
    Your job is to photograph them, not parent them. I HATE when parents think that the photographer should go out of their way to make their out of control kids behave. I spent a couple years working in a portrait studio and NEVER again because of that sort of mentality.
    I have people ask me all the time to do their family pictures. Only for good family and friends, that is it!
     
  6. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    But if you want to get paid, bribery is good or you can go along for the ride. Try using their energy to your advantage, say a jumping game. Tell the that you want to see who can jump the highest/ stand on their head the longest/ whatever will tire them while still allowing them to have fun and -get this- like you for letting them have fun.

    After they have burned off a little energy they will be calmer for a bit so be ready to roll because they will either get a second wind or get really cranky because they need that nap.

    This doesn't always work of course but does often enough to try it.

    If you can do it, try and schedule the shoot for early in the morning. The best time for kids.

    HTH
     
  7. aprileve

    aprileve TPF Noob!

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    with older kids (the 5 and 7 year old) you could do "Hey, let me take three pictures, then you get to take three pictures." Maybe bribing them that way will get them to sit still for three pictures, then follow through with your promise, and let them "push the button" on your camera of their sibling and see it in the camera. Helps them see the purpose of the entire outing. hope that helps.
     
  8. Richard

    Richard TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone! I will bring some candy next time. I am just glad I'm not alone.
     
  9. JodieO

    JodieO TPF Noob!

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    Welcome to my world. And sometimes you try all this and it fails. ;) I can deal with two siblings, but the minute they add a third, a fourth, or a fifth, I want to crawl into a hole.
     
  10. rubbertree

    rubbertree TPF Noob!

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    You want to add sugar to this disaster?? Good luck!!
     
  11. visualpoetry

    visualpoetry TPF Noob!

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    Bribes. Sounds bad, but works. The parents promise to go get pizza afterwords.. or buy them candy. So funny! They'll do whatever you want if they get something they want in return.
     
  12. heavenlymom

    heavenlymom TPF Noob!

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    Never add bribes like candy in to it!! You always need to keep in mind that you may offer them candy but what if the parents don't want them having it. It ticks me off so bad when I go places and people just offer my kids stuff without asking me before hand.
    I have a couple regular customers who have the most hyper active kids. Two families in particular are my hardest. One is a family of three young boys who act like their are raised in the WWF. You can't get them to quit hitting each other, beating the walls or throwing the other brother down in a body slam. They do it the whole session.
    I fix this problem by having patience and asking mom and dad to sit on either side of the kids to help keep them in control. It's crazy and my head is spinning in the end, but this way none of my stuff gets broke and in between beating each other up I get the shots mom and dad want. They manual put them where they need to go. If I posed them we'd never get the shot, as well as if I asked them.
    The other family is a baby boy and a three year old girl. The baby is fine, the little girl is so hyper active and mean it's crazy. She throws things and screams and scrunches down in a akward position. With them I do the best I can as the parents are the main problem for me. They are constantly repositioning them. If they'd leave them alone for a few seconds I might get the shot, but nope, every shot, their hands is in it fixing hair, straightening dresses and so on. I mean they DO NOT keep their hands off the kid. She is always being fussed at. They are so worried about things like that (which fixing every now and then would be fine but I mean it's like every 10 seconds) they ignore the fact that she's showing her underwear or sticking out her tongue or crossing her eyes on purpose. LOL
    It's crazy with kids but it's all about patience and knowing that most important key fact. Usually with children every photo is the most beautiful photo in the world to the parent. We may look at it and be like "Oh my gosh, heck no it's horrible", but mom and dad look at it and ooh and aahh over it. Trust in the fact that you have done your job. If they don't like the finished product then explain what you think the problem is (be honest) and ask if maybe they can bring something like a grandparent to help out next time.
    Good Luck! I love shooting kids! They are most fun and easiest in my opinion but it's mostly all I have done for the past five years!
     

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