Posing is such a hot topic in the photography industry and I'm thrilled to be sharing some tips for posing those littles! Typically when people think "family photography" they cringe because their minds go straight to the kids. And I get it, kids can be unpredictable and messy and overwhelming! I have 2 little ones of my own and they can be a handful at times. But honestly, they are my favorite to photograph! Especially toddlers! They're funny and so fun to be around. If you're wondering how I can have this mindset as a photographer get ready for some practical tips for posing kids.
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This should be the first thing you think of! Think about it, for the kids you are total stranger danger. I like to include questions to the parent about their kids. What are some things they enjoy? What are their favorite activities, etc. Try getting to know them so they feel more comfortable around you. Interact with mom and dad or older siblings so they see - this person is ok!
A big aspect that photographers don't think about is getting them comfortable being around your camera. To us it's become an extension of ourselves, but to them it's a giant piece of equipment they may have never seen before! One thing I do, especially for those babies and toddlers, is snap a photo and then show them the back of my camera so they can see how it works. Most times they will be thrilled to see themselves! I mean every child, at some point, was mesmerized by the simplicity of a mirror so this really works.
When preparing for a session I always encourage the parents to relax and enjoy! This is not the time for mom and dad to have to discipline the child for not listening or whatever the case may be. I tell the parents that I will take care of the kids! I don't want the memory for anyone to be difficult or a struggle. Interact with the kids and let them be kids. Play games, make jokes, pull out all the tricks! You don't want them getting yelled at for not smiling, then photo sessions seem like a chore for both the parents and the kids.
I love posing prompts because it give everyone something to do. Especially those little ones! Their attention span is often not very long and sitting for pictures can be a strenuous task if you're expected to stay still the whole time. Maybe you have some written down on your phone or you look over some before the session. If you want ideas, I've got a list of 60 prompts in my shop. It's called the Complete Family Posing System. I have my step by step workflow of different poses I use and they help capture those sweet, genuine moments. A few examples would be "run as fast as you can around mommy and daddy" or "hold hands and bump each other on the hips" or "look at your favorite sibling". It's giving them something to do that doesn't seem so sterile like, sit there, smile and say cheese.
So this is really plan b or c (Lol). Obviously you want to come prepared. Do your best to interact and make kids comfortable, have posing prompts to try, but it's perfectly fine to follow their lead. My own son is a total wanderer. A lot of toddlers are! They want to explore and see what's around them. That's ok! Let them play with the rocks or run a round a bit. Then, you can pull brother/sister next to them and smile to capture that really sweet moment. For me, some of my favorite photos of my now 3 year old are those candids. I want to remember those tiny toddler hands holding the pebbles he found. I'm fine with those photos of him running down a path or pointing to the sky because he saw an airplane! This is real life. The stiff poses where the kids look miserable aren't worth it. Trust me, parents want to remember how their kids were at these young stages of life. The crazy toddler stage is also the sweet stage where being a baby still lingers in them. Let kids be kids and follow their lead. You'll be glad you did!
Last, but not least - use bribes. I am not above a good bribe especially for photos! Always have the client bring the bribe. You won't know if they have allergies or what their fave goodies are. Just be sure to instruct them not to bring messy bribes. You want to avoid anything with a color coating (m&ms, skittles). I usually suggest fruit snacks or marshmallows. Marshmallows are perfect because they are so clean and honestly not very noticeable. But here's the key with bribery: don't pull them out until they are needed. I instruct the clients to keep them hidden and ONLY pull them out when I say. If kids see them at the very beginning and we wouldn't have needed them until closer to the end we wasted valuable time. For older kids, a lot of times their bribe is, after this we'll get ice cream or something.
Those were just some quick tips for posing kids. And I may have a MASSIVE posing course coming out at the end of this month, so keep your ears open and eyes peeled! If you want to be the first to know about it, you can join my email list. Go to my Website or my Instagram to find ways to join and if you're having trouble you can always shoot me a DM! Hope this was helpful!
+ My $3K Mini Sessions Blueprint
+ Complete Family Posing System
Comfortable with You and Your Camera (2:54)
Keep it Light and Fun (5:03)
Follow Their Lead (7:21)
Bribery at its Finest (9:02)