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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Sponge

10 tips how to photograph uncooperative kids!

Are you dealing with a ball of energy? Stroppy tot? Or a little one that refuses to make eye contact with your camera?

Oh boy, do i get this! My son has classic photographer's child syndrome - a total reluctance to knowingly be in front of the camera. If I say smile, he pulls a monstrous face or if I even dare to suggest he sit and pose he'd run country mile.

Photograph by Victoria Sponge Photography

Sound familiar? Well never fear, after years of experience working with children and handling negotiations with toddlers, I have 10 top tips to help you capture super cute portraits of your little one...

1. Embrace what they love!

Pick an activity they adore, whether that's dressing up in their favourite role play costume or building sandcastles. Make having their portraits taken a FUN experience, this way they're more likely to happily repeat sitting in front of the camera at a later date too. Pick an activity that you will also enjoy getting involved with, kids are amazing at picking up emotions... if you feel frustrated it'll not be long till they're feeling it too.

If it's not fun, put the camera down, only shoot if it's happy and heart felt!

Photograph by Victoria Sponge Photography

2. Keep it playful

Experience has taught me that few children will be uncooperative if the portrait session simply looks like a fun game. Scrap posing, introduce play instead.

Games as simple as Peek-a -boo are an effortless way of exciting kids, relaxing any nervous energy and encouraging those nature smiles.

Photograph by Victoria Sponge Photography

3. Run, run, run!

I'll always try to capture kids before they loose interest or become tired. However sometime I work with little ones that literally seem to have endless energy and theres little stopping them.

Let them run, explore and have their adventures... you just simply follow! These make for some of the most beautiful candid images and with any luck, as they tire that's your opportunity to get in for some more 'still' relaxed portraits.

Photograph by Victoria Sponge Photography

4. Encourage interaction

When trying to capture Newborn sibling shots, I'll ask big brother or sister to show me their baby's nose, to tell baby a story or sing them a song.

Little tasks like these give your little one direction and purpose, and makes them feel central in what can sometimes be a really challenging time, getting used to their new sibling.

Photograph by Victoria Sponge Photography

5. Air tosses

For squirmy kids that won't stay still or babies that are feeling a little serious , a chuck in the air from Mum or Dad usually brings the giggles out. If you're quick you'll get 3 shots from them, the toss itself, the smile at the parents as they come down and a smiley shot where you regain their attention. Never fails.

Photograph by Victoria Sponge Photography

6. Give them something to do

As soon as you introduce a little something for your child to hold or interact with it instantly creates a distraction away from the camera. The more fun they're having playing in boxes or scoffing a cake, the longer you have to shoot too.

Photograph by Victoria Sponge Photography

7. Oi Cheeky!

Bring out their mischievous side... if you dare! If you plant the speed for a little cheeky trick the child can play, they are ALWAYS going to jump at it. I love autumnal shoots as what kids doesn't love running through the leaves? I'll encourage little ones to throw some up in the air and or even to throw them at the camera. The giggles and colourful leaves are a match made in heaven.

Photograph by Victoria Sponge Photography

8. Back up

If you can, absolutely get some assistance, an extra pair of hands is always helpful. Whether it's your spouse, a friend or older sibling, if they can engage with your child, ensure they're safe and keep the play time following, these allows you to concentrate on getting THAT shot.

Photograph by Victoria Sponge Photography

9. Praise they're efforts

If all went well after your shoot them praise your tike! After all they've helped you out, tell them how mint they are and what an awesome job they've done. If they're a little older show them the shots you love and tell them why you like them so much. Build their confidence and with any luck you'll set the way to a even more willing model next time around.

Photograph by Victoria Sponge Photography

10. Bring out their wild side!

If you feel brave and don't mind a bit of muck (god knows I've had to learn to embrace it) then let your little one live a little! Allow them to get messy making cakes, muddy jumping in puddles or soaked running in and out of the waves. Capture their personality and create images like no one else has.

This is my little lad, the tinker you saw at the top gurning... happy, free and literally living his best life. Priceless moment captured.

Photograph by Victoria Sponge Photography

Remember next time, before you start taking any pictures, focus on capturing them as they are and capturing the memories your making. These are the photographs that will continue to mean the world to you in years to come.

Photograph by Victoria Sponge Photography

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