Most of the time, your kids can’t wait to ham it up whenever they see a camera in your hands — except when you actually want to take a picture of them! Then they’re suddenly stiff as wood, won’t hold still, and stubbornly refuse to smile (or worse, produce that toothy, fake, let’s-just-get-this-over-with smile). You’re all too familiar with this scenario, right?
Now that it’s spring, and the formal holiday-card family portraits are a thing of the past. You’d love to organize a creative warm-weather photo shoot, but how do you get your kids to cooperate? Easy: channel their spring-feverish energy into designing their own shoot!
1. Create a concept. Ask your kids for their ideas, and try not to limit their thinking at the outset. That said, you could give them a bit of direction at the start; for example, tell them you’re thinking about taking their pictures at the local botanical gardens, and let them use that as a springboard to develop the concept.
Not feeling very conceptual? Searching Pinterest for “kids photo shoot ideas” (and running them by your children for their input) will jump-start the creative process!
2. Plan the wardrobe. Let’s say you go with the garden idea; your kids love it because it’s outdoors, meaning they don’t have to be starched and buttoned up for their pictures. So what should they wear? This will depend in part on what (and how much) is in bloom: think color contrasts. If it’s still early enough in the year that green is the predominant color in the garden, have your kids dress in the colors of the flowers that have yet to arrive. But if spring blooming is at its peak, wearing darker greens and blues could be more effective.
And to forestall the possibility of your adored ones turning surly at the moment of truth, it’s not a bad idea to bring along some photo props. SippyCupMom.com’s Make it Pretty Wednesdays posts include how to make fun props like a flowered halo, mustaches, crowns, and vampire fangs.
Bonus: Making props together will help get your children into the photo-shoot spirit!
3. Find the perfect setting (or two). Even if you had planned to gather your children around that enormous bed of daffodils, look around for other possibilities. What about that massive evergreen? If your kids are wearing light colors, that tree trunk would be a dramatic backdrop. And if you stumble across a spectacular blossoming cherry tree, as in this baby photograph by Jill Carmel, don’t pass up that photo opportunity!
Of course, you may choose to have your kids’ spring portraits taken in a real photo studio; many children’s photographers are open to using your props, and even backdrops that you and your kids can put together prior to the day of the shoot. (Just be sure to communicate clearly with your photographer well ahead of time.)
This spring, whether you decide to capture your kids’ best moments at home, in a park, on a trip, or at a photo studio, the key to a successful photo shoot is to focus on what makes it fun for them — after all, the fun for you will mostly be in those sentimental-sigh moments every time you pass their pictures in the hall.