Kids. Kids and brides used to scare the #$^% out of me. When I first got interested in photography, I did not want anything to do with either of them. No way. No how. Of course, that was before I was married and had a daughter 😉
It is funny how that has changed over the years. Weddings and family sessions can be among the most fun things to shoot (if everyone is cooperative).
There are thousands of books and articles written on this subject. Everybody has their own ways to shoot and interact and, their own philosophies on how to interact and engage children. For those of you who might have kids or have photographed kids before you already know that there is nothing that you can do to make a 3-5 year old child do anything if they don’t want to. Bribery, threats, punishment, pleading none of that will work. The only thing that works is when what they want lines up with what you want. Before we shoot, I often ask parents that they set no expectation on small kids other than we are going to have fun. One of the worst things that we can do is to tell a child that he better smile good or else (or smile good and get a prize). For a good child that expectation is a stress that will end up showing in the pictures, for a not-so good kid it just creates more outbursts and trouble.
I like to set up a photo-session that is mostly about play. We meet at a park, and go for a walk in the park. Maybe we feed some geese; maybe we stick our feet in the pond and splash around a bit. It really doesn’t matter as long as we make it fun – and when we have fun, it is smiles from ear to ear. There are photographic opportunities’ everywhere; the key is I have to make it fun for a child.