I'm about to spill some of my secrets. (Yes, I really AM brunette... and anyhow, that's not what I meant.)
Families ask me to take photos of kids of all ages. Toddlers. Preschoolers. School-aged. Tweens and teens. And sometimes the other end of the age spectrum, too... the grandparents.
I'm about to share some tips that can truly be used on either end of that age gap. Really. In fact, I'll show you exactly how I kept this particular family completely engaged from start to finish.
Allow me to introduce Beth, her (ADORABLE!) little girl Kyra and Papa Poblocki. Kyra is the apple of Papa's eye. It's beautifully obvious. Just watch...
1. Counting hairs.
Keep them busy. Keep their minds active. I asked Kyra to count the hairs on her Papa's head. It makes for a cute and interactive portrait. Papa is entertained and Kyra is... being adorable.... and showing off her mad counting skills.
This can even work with dads and grandpas who don't have hair... as long as I know I can shoot fast enough to catch THE moment when the lightbulb goes on...
2. Check for boogers.
Keep them searching. Keep them helpful. I use this trick a lot for siblings. Also, you need to read the room before asking if so-and-so could check his partner's nose for boogers. Papa Poblocki seemed to be a good sport about the whole thing. And just look at that darling portrait. If I never told you my secret, you'd never have thought twice about it. (giggles)
3. Hide and seek.
Keep them playful. Keep them moving... and staying still. What kid doesn't love playing hide and seek? And to be able to play it during a photo shoot? Unthinkable! But it works like a charm. "Go hide down there where you think mom can't see you and SIT STILL." Buahahaha.
4. Hugs and kisses.
Keep them close. Keep them loving. All little kids love giving their mamas hugs and kisses. The truth is, so do older kids, I just get a different reaction (grossed out? embarrassed?) to capture. Stages and ages, that's all it is.
5. Silly faces.
Keep them having fun. Keep them happy. I play a game at my sessions. I count to five and each time I say a number my subject has to make a different silly face. And then SNAP! Older kids think of it as a non-selfie selfie. Little kids just like sticking their tongues out.
6. BONUS TIP! Naptime.
Keep them rested. Keep them sweet. It's no secret that little ones need their rest. Why not use time at a photoshoot to give them a break? You might just catch a quiet and darling moment.
(It's also no secret that Papas need a little cat nap here and there. That may or may not have happened on the sidelines at this shoot. wink wink)
Would you like to see all these tricks (and more!) in action? Click that button down there and your wish is my command....