Erin with some awesome tips on photographing busy boys!
Raise your hand if you’re a mom to a wonderful, sweet, charming boy. How about a wonderful, sweet, charming boy who loves to have his pictures taken? Oh…..we just lost a lot of hands. Oh boy…..literally! Getting your boys to take nice photos for you can be tricky, and if we’re honest, sometimes painful, but it doesn’t always have to be!
With boys always on the go, making goofy faces, never sitting still, you might find yourself just a little frustrated or daunted at the task of trying to get some nice captures of them. As a photographer and mom to my own 5 year old mischief maker, I’ve got some tips for you.
1. Give them something to do. For my little guy, he loves his tractors and trucks and basically anything that goes vrrrooooooooom! Try giving your boy something to do that you know he likes. Then you can just sit back and snap away for a few minutes. In the long run, it may not be the perfectly posed photo you were after, but it’s who he is right now and that’s worth remembering.
2. Don’t be above bribery! It’s not uncommon for child photographers to bring treats in their camera bag to reward children for a job well done, so why can’t us mom-togs do the same? And if not a treat, how about the promise of doing something they like after taking photos? Be careful with this one though. Keep your tone light and positive and praise them often. And follow through with your promises afterwards, even if it didn’t exactly all go according to plan. I bet you next time you make this attempt, little man will remember that you kept your promise and will be a little more willing knowing what’s to come afterwards.
3. Keep it short and sweet. Most kids don’t have a very long attention span, not just boys, so get your “photo sessions” done in smaller increments of time. After a half hour to an hour, most kids are pretty much over it.
4. If a goofy face is all you’re going to get, then roll with it. Going back to tip #1, that’s who they are right now so embrace it.
5. From a technical aspect, keep your shutter speed as fast as your conditions will allow. You’ll save yourself the frustration of a blurred photo because your camera settings weren’t able to freeze all that motion in time. With toddler aged boys, you may just find yourself chasing after them or following them around more than anything. Be prepared so you don’t miss any moments. Also set your camera on continuous shooting mode if you can. While you might miss the shot the first time, the next one or the one after that may just be perfect so keep snapping!
This little boy was super shy, but he looooooved the bubbles I brought for him to play with. However, he certainly was not content to sit on a blanket and let us blow them at him! He wanted to chase the bubbles and blow the bubbles so I had to be fast and keep snapping so I could capture all his movement. Sometimes you just have to let things unfold as they will and be ready to capture whatever comes your way.
6. Use your surroundings to your advantage. You might get your perfect smile and you might not, but by being aware of your lighting and other surroundings you can still create an artistic photo that speaks to you.
In this particular photo, it probably took us approximately 883 frames (just kidding, it wasn’t that many–he actually really liked this idea) to get him to push that dumptruck toward us and look up, but man it was worth it! The trail leading off behind him adds great perspective to this shot, and is also part of what makes this shot, besides the adorable little man.
7. Accept imperfection. Sometimes you’re just not going to get your shot so be prepared for that possibility.
Do you know how many photos I have like this of my son? Oh, about 967. Give or take. He’s so moody and can go from an extreme high to an extreme low. Oh well. This will be a great addition to his graduation slide show one day mwahahahahaha<<<<<<<<<<<<<that’s my evil mom laugh.
8. Have someone help you while you’re taking photos. During this particular session with my son, he would.not. look up at me while he was playing. Wouldn’t do it! But daddy was behind me and got his attention for a couple brief moments and all of a sudden, I had magic….
9. Are there older siblings who can help? This isn’t always fool-proof, but in many situations, the younger siblings look up to the older ones, so get the big brothers and sisters to help get your little guy more into it. Snap a few of big brother so little brother can see how awesome it is.
10. Show them what’s happening on your camera’s LCD screen. I get a lot of , “Oh, mom take a picture of this!” while he holds some random object in his hand and he likes to see how those photos turn out. I often share with my little guy how his pictures are looking in camera and it gives him more motivation to try other things with me.
The moral of the story is: Be patient. Don’t expect perfection. Capture the seemingly small moments. And be fast! Your shining moment with your sweet boys is waiting for you, so don’t get discouraged.
I hope these tips will help you capture more of your favorite moments with your boys. Do you have any of your own tips to share? Please do tell in the comments below!