Let them be wild

Eating rocks with his cousin Iggsy.

Photographing your child can be a challenge for any parent. We want them to be still so we can capture them at their best. We are asking them to ignore everything they find wondrous. This isn’t who they are nor is it the correct approach. I often find that my best portraits of Cole come from when he’s being a child. Here are some tips from a local CT Family Photographer.

Tip #1: “Let them be wild”

My son is stubborn, curious, and mischievous. These traits can, at times, make daily tasks like nap time, clean up, or just about anything difficult. However, I wouldn’t change him–the same traits allows him to happily discover the world around him! If your child is anything like mine have your camera or cell phone ready.

CT Maternity Photographer, Family photographer
Cole took off his shirt and decided to make funny faces during our maternity session.

Tip #2: “Let them play”

Encourage your child to play and ask yourself what does my child keep returning to? You’ll notice a pattern. Maybe the next time they pick up the same shovel you ask to see it and they’ll happily pose with it for you. Your toddler will joyfully seek out that photo.

West Hartford Children's Museum 
Family Photographer
Cole playing at the West Hartford’s children museum.

Tip # 3: “Don’t bribe your child”

Children want agency over their actions and feelings. When we bribe them or tell them to smile bigger for the camera it can devalue their emotions. This may lead to shame, embarrassment, and resentment towards the camera and their photo. I recommend getting silly with them. Make them laugh, tell them their smile is beautiful, be joyous and excited! This will help their self esteem and make taking photos a treat instead of a task.

West Hartford Family Park
Westmoor Park is beautiful in the fall (http://www.westmoorpark.org/)

Tip #4: “Ask them to help you”

Children love helping. When Cole wants to assist it can feel like one step forward and five steps back! Putting together furniture and large toys can take forever! Alas, nothing makes him happier than feeling helpful. Ask your little one to be involved. They’ll love baking, planting seedlings, or just handing you a tool. This bonding time is perfect for photo opportunities.

CT family Photographer Child with Grandmother
Cole helping Grandma clean bitter melons fresh from our garden.

Tip #5: Print your memories

When children see their photos on the wall or around the house it lets them know they matter. The portrait below of Cole and his mother is handsomely displayed in our living room. I can’t tell you how many times Cole says good night to it before nap time. When children see their images that make them happy, they’ll be more receptive to your camera!

CT Family Photographer based in West Hartford, CT
Cole napping on his mom at the beach.

At last, a good portrait starts at home

I hope these tips will prove helpful. When I was younger my dad would often pull out his camera and tell my siblings and I to smile better. We hated having our photos taken because we’d be reprimanded for smiling wrong! I had anxiety every time I was in front of the camera and just wanted it to be over.

With the following tips, your child will remember laughing instead of posing. They’ll end up giving you extra time to get the photo they want too.

Join us next week for our new post: How to better compose your children’s portrait. Let us know what you think too! As a CT Family Photographer my role is to make empower your child. You can also contact us for one on one lessons or to discuss your upcoming family portrait!

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