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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
April Narby
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/23/2006
 

Help Working with Toddlers


I have been having fun taking Christmas card portraits for my family and friends this year. My biggest challenge has been with those portraits that include cute toddlers. Does anyone have any tricks or tips? What works for you when you have a difficult subject? Thanks for any help you can offer.

12/2/2006 8:40:57 AM

 
W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
  Make them sit quietly with a new cuddly toy? Don't show it/give it too soon. Wait with that until you're really ready to shoot. Let them play with it - preferably on someone's lap. Then sound a little bell (which they didn't know you had), and watch the smile break through on their face... then release the shutter!
Best to have a few little bells with different pitches/sounds available. Or a quacking duck, or... so on, so forth.
Obviously, they'll get to keep the new cuddly toy. Unless you want a drama, of course... Good luck.

12/2/2006 9:21:22 AM

 
Kim Loupas

member since: 10/15/2005
  I work with Santa at the mall taking pictures. We use the jingle bells to grab their attention. But don't go overboard like my manager did. She put together about 6 large bells that made a lot of noise, and the little ones cried when we would swing it.

I'd also say just shoot a lot. I'm trying to take a picture for a Christmas card of a 2 1/2 year old and a 4 year old, and I'm having trouble getting them both to look in the same direction.

12/5/2006 8:40:00 AM

 
April Narby
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/23/2006
  Thank you both for your tips!! I am going to try out some bells this Friday. Thanks again.

12/5/2006 9:15:18 AM

 
Melanie Gazaway
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/20/2006
  I used to do a ton of children's photography. One thing that worked really well if you have a toddler that won't sit still, was to put them on something like a rocking horse or a sled, or even in a brightly wrapped box. The novelty of the new thing would go far in keeping them put!

As for getting them to look the same direction, if you can manage, put a toy on your head and either "sneeze" it off or have the kids try and blow it off. This works wonders with my 2-year old and my 5-year old.

12/6/2006 4:28:24 AM

 
Richard Paul

member since: 12/1/2006
  Also find and get a feather. Something with color and when they are sitting or laying down, brush their face with the feather and they laugh until they cry laughing. Fun work.

12/6/2006 6:19:52 AM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/4/2004
  April,
every child is different. here are a couple of my suggestions:
* having everything ready when they come in! having the parent containing the child until you have the set completely set up.
* using small chairs ,stools , slieghs and cribs ect. as "holding props" help.
* now attention getters: (it is best to wait on noise makers until absolutly needed)Bubbles are great, but I prefer starting with a simple ball ( of color)
take a small ball such as a hand ball.
hold it in front of the child as if to give it to them,as they grab you pop it up and catch it ( make sure you laugh) twice usually gets a giggle.
faking a sneeze, big dramatic AH,Ah AH chewwww and on that throw yor head all the way down and pop back up.
works Almost every time.
older toddlers and kids ( this works especially with groups) have a stuffed teddy and say " Ok, everyone be still Pooh wants his picture with you guys.
now Pooh (talking to bear) you stay right here. ( and sit him on the edge of the table, tapping his head as you walk away so he falls off.
" ah did you guys kick him off? Pooh bad bear stay there. nad do it again.
Games help kids feel like they are in a safe inviorment and like they want the games to contine.
There are alot more on the Studio Photography threads 1-22.
I do hope these help,
Debby Tabb

12/6/2006 6:34:43 AM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/4/2004
  Oh and what EVER you do, do not let them have or play with your toys!
these are NOT toys they are props.
and we will let them play for a moment, but we want something for it.
you have about 30 maybe 60 seconds before a prop is of NO intrest.
so if a parent comes in your studio and starts handing over your toys- you have LOST your element of surprize and the child starts board of yoru favorite attention getters.
sorry, I had forgot to mention this and it will help.

12/6/2006 6:40:51 AM

 
Melinda B. Wilburn

member since: 6/10/2004
  April, My best advice is playing with the child when they first arrive. You must win thier confidance. If it takes 15 or 20 minutes to play. If you are able get on the floor and play with on thier level. Balls, bubbles, soft toys are great. Be sure and ask them what thier favorite toys is or animal. Ask the name of their dog or cat. It is all about being on their level. Think like a toddler.Melinda

12/6/2006 7:01:44 AM

 
stacey c. damon
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/12/2004
  The Bells is a great idea, and I agree with Melinda about sitting down on their level and talk to them, ask them questions about them...use your continous shutter mode alot too...also shoot while they are checking things out and getting to know you...these are some of the best most natural shots! Good luck and stay patient...and don't be afraid to ask the parents to let you keep the child's attention(you want them looking at you not in the corner at mom)-"be quiet" in a nice way! Or even ask them to leave..kids are always much better without their parents. I have a few parents that I have asked to leave over the years...and have one yearly repeat cleint that I actually go and get the kids and leave mom(who can't be quiety) at home...LOL.

12/6/2006 7:51:38 AM

 
stacey c. damon
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/12/2004
  The Bells is a great idea, and I agree with Melinda about sitting down on their level and talk to them, ask them questions about them...use your continous shutter mode alot too...also shoot while they are checking things out and getting to know you...these are some of the best most natural shots! Good luck and stay patient...and don't be afraid to ask the parents to let you keep the child's attention(you want them looking at you not in the corner at mom)-"be quiet" in a nice way! Or even ask them to leave..kids are always much better without their parents. I have a few parents that I have asked to leave over the years...and have one yearly repeat cleint that I actually go and get the kids and leave mom(who can't be quiety) at home...LOL.

12/6/2006 7:51:52 AM

 
Dennis H. Hernet

member since: 2/14/2006
  Most everything said is great ... but the best tool I have had is the digital camera because it costs nothing to shoot scads of photos ... just to get a couple good ones. Using everything with the toys, etc., working with kids you've got to be quick and you've got to shoot often. I've rapped off 100 shots in a matter of several minutes sometimes (the average attention span of a toddler) just to get a couple good ones. Shoot lots of photos quickly.

12/6/2006 10:31:56 AM

 

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