“Say Cheese!” series on kids part 1

This year I want to spend some time blogging some “how to’s” to help people with their personal photographic questions.  Some of the topics I will be covering are camera choices, using a new camera, lighting at home, and photographing your own children.

Oddly enough, photographing my own children are the toughest of clients I have…when people meet me and learn that I’m a photographer, the first thing they say is “wow, you’re lucky; you must have amazing photos of your kids!”  Sadly, my kids are just like your kids and don’t like to sit still long enough to say anything…  😉

So how did I get this shot?

How does any parent get anything done?  Pure bribery!  Really!!

My kids know that the phrase, “Say Cheese” is like a swear in my studio…but they also know my tricks for kids that don’t belong to me…prime example is Mason and Stella – I won’t tell you how I got these smiles (I need to still have a reason to charge what I do, don’t I?  LOL)…but I definitely did NOT say “Say Cheese!”  and I didn’t bribe them…but then again, they’re not mine!  Tricks work with them!

Back to my kids – how do I get those smiles from them?  I tell them that if they give me the one photo I want, they can have their own photo shoot.  Yes, it’s just that simple!

Here’s Alexandra with the remote – it is a $25 wireless remote that I bought on Amazon.  I put my camera on a tripod and give them the remote so they can have their own photo shoot

Are you cringing because I give my 6 & 7 year old free reign on a $2000 camera?  (and yes, I allow them to use the full studio with the studio lights)  Yes, my equipment is insured…but it’s the fact that my kids know that I trust them and they take that trust and turn it into pride.  The bribery works!

Another option – if you don’t feel comfortable handing over your camera to your kids – pick up a kid friendly (i.e. price friendly) camera.  Amazon and Best Buy have old models or refirbushed models on clearance.  We bought our youngest an 11 megapixel Kodak point and shoot with an 8GB memory card for $35 on Amazon.  Our oldest wanted a pink camera, so SHE splurged and bought a Fuji FinePix 15 megapixel with her Christmas money – she spent $70.  Walmart has the smaller digital cameras (horrible LCD and worse quality, but can’t beat the price) for $20 — usually they have the Disney logo on it so the kids feel proud to use it.  That’s the key, be proud of their photos – use the fact that that you don’t have to develop the film to your advantage!  Be proud of their images!!  here are some my daughters shot from their cameras:

OK, so they need to work on their self portraits…but not bad for a couple of kiddos!  Yes, I do give them feedback on their images (the first one was Alexandra’s “perfect” architecture shot – she got it on the fourth try.  I was proud of her trying to get her lines right!).  It’s a win win situation – I get my Christmas cards out in a timely manner and they have fun and learn at the same time!

Have a topic idea?  Feel free to email me at info@parsonsphoto.org !!


Posted in FYI

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