Why I Never Ask Kids To Pose
Nothing creates more chaos than a baby shoot--they are never still, which means that you need to be at the top of your game. They will never warn you before flashing a perfect smile, neither will they give you a re-take. Their energy is impeccable and that's what makes the whole experience so much fun. Children look the most adorable when they are real. There is no pressure to make the child look perfect. All you need is a calm hand and immense patience.
Create a situation and let it unfold, do not stop them...
I was once capturing a child (a three-year-old) to welcome his 14-day-old sister home. There was so much emotion in that room, he was amazed at how small she was, wanted to hold her and kiss her little feet. His emotions were priceless, and no photographer should ever miss such innocent shots. There were moments of him crying, getting possessive about his mother, inquisitively looking at his tiny sister, and eventually laughing out loud with excitement. This was, by far, my favourite baby shoot because I realised how strongly kids react when you place them in an unknown situation.
If you are keen on taking great baby pictures, these hacks will make the whole experience much more fun:
I usually meet the child prior to the shoot--either at their house or at the park--just to feel comfortable with their behaviour. It really helps me understand if the child is sensitive or slightly stubborn. They are different on different days, but it's a ground rule for me to meet them and develop a rapport before the actual shoot day.
On the day of the shoot, I start my day with carb loading. because the whole world knows that you cannot beat their energy levels. Prepare yourself for a play day in the sun; you will be running around trying to capture their cuteness by making it seem effortless. You need to be extremely prepared with equipment, props, and a giant dose of patience. Including parents is a great way to make the child feel comfortable.
Asking kids to pose is a complete NO!
They feel uncomfortable, and that reflects in your photographs. The best technique would be to pick a couple of spots with good natural light and let them play with their favourite toys. This is also an interesting way to add a story to your photographs in case you are capturing siblings or close cousins/friends. It is a great way to bond with them and sync with their energy. I enjoy shooting kids with music; it lets them ease out and feel groovy. Music always lightens their apprehensions about a stranger asking them to smile or jump. You could play their favourite nursery rhymes or stories. Trust me, it works.
I enjoy sharing the images with the family over a cup of coffee and watching their reactions; the joy is unexplainable. Get out of the studio, let them get messy, let them scream and shout. A goofy child will give the most genuine and adorable smiles.
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