Photographing Camera-Shy Kids

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Some kids love to pose for the camera. Others hate it. So how do you get over the camera-shy hurdle? Start by finding out what they don’t like about being photographed, then try to spin it into a positive. Can it become more interactive or become a game? Do they need to be with a pet, a prop or a parent when posing?

As the photographer you have two ways to approach things—shoot when they know you are working with your camera, or shoot when they do not know you are around. Either way, the best photos result when your subject is at ease.

Try using toys or something fun to distract a child to make them feel comfortable

They know you are there

Make them laugh, surprise them, act silly. Try to make the camera less intrusive/less in-their-face. You could even set-up the camera on a tripod and use a remote or remote app to fire the shutter from a few feet away. Using a remote also allows you to be in the shot.

Tell a joke

You know that expression your child gets when he or she wants to tell a story; or better yet, a joke. Or maybe there’s a family-silly that makes everyone roll on the floor no matter how many times they hear it. See how things are revealed if you ask your tot to tell the joke in front of the camera. He or she may tell it over and over again. Chances are, if it’s a good one you will laugh too.

Telling jokes and being funny is a great way to cheer up a child and capture a happy photo

No idea you are taking photos

Pretending to be absorbed in something is another tactic. Throw your little subjects off-guard by telling them you are just checking a setting or that the camera is still turned off. Maybe point the camera in a few different directions, then back onto them, then face the other way. This helps make your shutter clicks clandestine. It’s not the most honest, but if your best photos result doing this perhaps it’s ok to tell a little white lie.

Another plan of photo attack: catch your child when he or she is so fully immersed in an activity that there’s no regard for your presence. Try an instant when engrossed with toys, baking cookies or playing with friends.

Keep it short

Whether you are taking candid photographs of children, or easing them into a few moments front of camera, plan to make the session last no longer than 10 minutes. Young children have very short attention spans. Older kids will get wise to you. If they are camera-shy they will find ways to avoid the lens.



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