Updated: Oct 27
It happens to all of us, at some point in our lives we learn "CHEESE!" For my eldest it happened when he started at daycare around 2 years old or so. I remember thinking, oh man, here goes all the sweet little faces just staring into the lens and here comes the big cheesy grin, full squint and teeth barred, haha. Of course, it's inevitable, but that doesn't mean that you need to say goodbye to candid looks forever. It just takes some finagling and trickery. This post will give you all the tips and tricks you need to take those super fun, super natural photos of your kids that you've dreamed about.
And for this "props" are great. I don't even mean anything significant, it can be a basket to collect pinecones, rocks or leaves or in the case of this shoot, some flowers picked at Burger Hill. This is a spot that works for me only in fall, when the grasses are high, the leaves are changing and the light is softer. Throughout the summer months it is mostly full of harsh, baking hot and harsh sunlight, weather depending, of course, but in fall it becomes a really great backdrop for any fall session. Bonus, there isn't a ton of walking to get to some really nice spots, so little kids won't get burnt out before the fun starts.
Ok, so a prop like this works because it can be foreground, right up against your lens to create a soft border and tons of interest, or hey, they can just swing them around, spin, twirl, all the good stuff. In most of these I let her "tickle" my camera with the bouquet, which she thought was hilarious, so I got a ton of laughing reactions with depth and interest.
For quieter moments, ask them, "What's in there? Is there something in there? Can you see it?" A lot of times kiddos will really, really look (age dependent) and this is the perfect moment to get those fleeting sweet faces, which I love.
Another thing to always think about when shooting kids is angles! Get down on their level first and foremost. But also try getting low, sometimes even lying on the ground and having them look over you can get some great silly reactions. Basically, what I've found is if you are playing they will play too and forget all about the camera, the phone and most likely, all about CHEESE too. I hope these tips help you take the super natural, fun and candid photos of you kids you've always wanted!