It sure is a great time to be a parent, tech-wise. Thanks to smartphones that come with built-in cameras, we’re able to capture every single moment of our children’s growing-up years. We’ll be poring over these treasured pics over and over again in many years to come.
The downside is that since most of us aren’t professional photographers, getting our kiddos to look at the camera for the winning shot can be challenging. You know ― you take 15 shots to immortalise a sweet moment and not one is good enough to go on Facebook or Instagram. Oh, the struggle is real!
And if you want to take a spur of the moment photo, kids are usually a hard sell. “The worst thing you can do is ask them to ‘look at the camera or smile at the camera’,” says family, maternity and newborn photographer Palita Mak-Drury. “They will definitely want to do the opposite of that!”
Infographic: Syahirah Maszaid
1) Include their favourite toys
Unlike toddlers, babies aren’t able to follow directions. So, the best way to get their attention is with their favourite squeaky toys, finger puppets or a rattle. Get someone to wave the toy right in front of the camera, so that bubba will turn in that direction. Sometimes, older kids who are too shy to smile for the camera might also feel more comfortable when they are clutching their beloved stuffed dog.
2) Promise to let them see the picture after you take it
Kids these days know how digital cameras work ―that they can see photos right after you take them. Mak-Drury uses that to her advantage, promising the peewees that they’ll get a sneak peek pf the picture she takes of them if they cooperate. “They’ll be happy to see themselves in the photo after letting me take it,” she notes.
3) Talk to them about something they like
A great way to get natural shots of your child or a group of people, is to encourage them to talk about their favourite topics. Watch as junior’s eyes light up as he starts talking about his favourite cartoon or how much he loves eating strawberries and why. Then snap as many pictures as you can before the moment disappears. “For more candid, moment-driven shots, I’d ask the toddler to point out mummy or daddy’s nose or mouth or get them to tickle one another,” adds Mak-Drury.
4) Turn it into a game of whom can sit still and look into the camera first
If you’re dealing with toddlers, tapping into their competitive nature works every time. “If I’m working with toddlers and their parents or siblings, I will always start a game of who can sit still and look into the camera first,” says Mak-Drury. Other games you could try are “who can give me the biggest smile” or “who can give me the cutest pose”. Anything to get the competition going!
5) Give them little breaks, so that they can move around
Children have extremely short attention spans, so the more you try to squeeze in a few more shots, the less obliging they will be. Don’t shoot for more than a few minutes before doing something else, or moving to another spot. You could even promise a three-minute dance party after every block just to get them moving and grooving. They’ll also get to expend any pent-up boredom and crankiness that comes with taking too many pictures.
6) Read their favourite book to them
Another great tip if you’re working with babies. Have someone read bub’s favourite book, or one that you read to her often, out loud. If she’s heard it enough times, you’ll see your baby smile or react to certain parts of the story – probably her favourite bits. Have your camera ready, because that’s your money shot right there!
7) Involve the grandparents
What would we do without grandparents, seriously? They come in handy for so many things, including pacifying a cranky baby or getting them to crack a smile. “Whenever I need my baby to smile for a photo, all I need is my dad and mum there,” notes mum-of-two Joselin Chan. “They are more than willing to make silly faces, clap their hands or sing songs to get my baby’s attention.”
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