How to photograph the child who doesn’t like to be photographed

One of the things I hear frequently is from frustrated Mum’s who are desperate for a delightful family photo but have children who don’t sit still/pull funny faces or quite simply just point blank don’t like the  look of a camera.  I get it.  My Joseph is transitioning through that phase right now.  He will often say ‘I don’t want my picture taken Mamma’ so I just put the camera away.  The first golden rule, don’t push it and fall at the first hurdle.  So, how to photograph the child who doesn’t like to be photographed?  Read on.

I love a personal mission

I met Ruby at Delph Tots Playgroup in December during their Christmas Party.  Taking photographs at playgroups is essential for me, a vital part of childhood too important not to document.  Fellow Mum, Lindsay, had the same idea but her daughter Ruby had other ideas.  Similar to Joseph, she does not like to have her photograph taken just now so I made it my personal mission to capture just one photo (my emphasis is on one on this occasion, you don’t need more!) that Mum could frame on the mantelpiece ready for Christmas.

Challenge accepted.  How did I do?

Did I pass my challenge?  Yes I did!  Lindsay said:

I absolutely love the pictures, you have done an amazing job of capturing Ruby.  Thanks again for persevering, you have done a fab job.

So, here are the four steps I took to photograph the child who doesn’t like to be photographed…

1.  Put the camera down

With Joseph, the camera goes away.   Even with Ruby, if she saw me with the camera, I put it away and gave her time to become used to me before seeing the camera. I also let Ruby watch me taking photos of others, like her Mummy!

2.  No clock watching

Lindsay hit the nail on the head, perseverance.  Therefore, patience and being super relaxed whilst at the same time being ready to capture that moment is the balance to strive for.  Take the pressure off waiting for ‘that’ photo and just relax and see that whatever photos you end up with are better than none at all.  Furthermore, don’t worry if part of the photo is blurred as the child is moving, these things take practice.

3.  Educate and inspire

I’ll often take children through my camera, let them look through the lens and have a go themselves.  With camera phones and a soft surface underneath, it can be a real winner.

4.  Don’t push for a full on, smiley photograph

Seriously, it’s not going to happen.  If you are VERY lucky you might muster a half smile but if you change your mindset and discover something else, you never know what you might find. In other words, a loving glance at a parent, a hug for a sibling, playing with a favorite toy?  Have a go and notice what happens.

To conclude, what frustrates you about photographing your children?  Let me know by commenting below and I promise to come back to you with my hints and tips.

Other blog posts you might find useful:

3 quick tips to encourage you to take more photos now

I love photographing children!

My top 5 super quick and easy tips for taking better photos


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