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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Difficult Children
Showing posts 1 - 25 of 31, (reverse)
12/06/2009 09:24:06 PM · #1
How do you work with children who are bound and determined that they don't want to be photographed? And, with the exception of my niece, it really does seem boys are worse than girls. I've mostly given up on photographing my niece. She knows she's got me all wrapped up, so she feels no particular need to behave herself or listen to me.

But, this kid I was working with tonight.... getting a smile out of him was like pulling teeth. His sister used to do the local kiddie pageants, so she loves nothing better than to mug in front of a camera.

12/06/2009 09:35:18 PM · #2
I simple refuse to work with small children...maybe not the best solution, but it does cut down the stress factor! The sole exception is my girlfriend's family, where there are several little ones. In those cases, when they want photos, I tell their parents that they have to be there and are in charge of getting the expression they want. If the kid doesn't cooperate, it's made clear that it's not my problem.

In a professional setting, that may not fly so well. Which is why it's easier to avoid it altogether :-)
12/06/2009 09:36:30 PM · #3
I usually start out by just talking to them and then work towards taking a photo of something near them and showing them the photo on the camera. It works most of the time. : )
12/09/2009 08:46:24 AM · #4
This isn't a small child - he's 8.
12/09/2009 09:02:29 AM · #5
You have to make him laugh and smile for real. Fake smile's just don't cut it and a lot of kids can't smile on demand. Talk about something that interests him. Ask him open ended questions about what he likes, "hey, what do you want for Christmas?". It helps to not have to then put your face behind the camera, so either have someone else do the talking or use a shutter release.
12/09/2009 09:06:25 AM · #6
When were doing T&I sports shots, there is always a kid that will cry and run away and won't sit still for his pictures. I often threaten them. In reality, a lot of times we will just ask his parents to step away for a minute or 2, which often mellows the kid out a bit, or if its early in the shoot and were going to be there for a while, we will just tell them to bring the kid back later. Sometimes though its a lost cause and there is nothing you can do.
12/09/2009 09:22:26 AM · #7
boogers, puke, poop, fart jokes usually work well with boys of 8 years old.

It is gross, but it usually work
12/09/2009 09:35:34 AM · #8
12/09/2009 09:41:46 AM · #9
threaten them with the "pink tutu" treatment!

They already (think they) know everything in the universe at this point, so lots of luck!
12/09/2009 09:57:02 AM · #10
Originally posted by JulietNN:

boogers, puke, poop, fart jokes usually work well with boys of 8 years old.

It is gross, but it usually work

This works for 5 and 3 year old girls as well!

There is a also a fine line between getting the kids wound up and crazy.
12/09/2009 10:02:37 AM · #11
Sometimes just going with the mood works too, one of the best shots anyone ever took of my son when he was that brat kid who would not let people take his photo was a photo captured with a more serious look. My son was pretty dug in and determined not to smile or get his photo taken so the photographer went with the mood and quit trying to get him to smile, he ended up capturing a moment that looked more like he was in deep thought. The shot came out great and is still one of our favorite shots of him when he was younger. The photographer was a hero because without that shot we would have had nothing.
12/09/2009 10:22:56 AM · #12
Originally posted by JulietNN:

boogers, puke, poop, fart jokes usually work well with boys of 8 years old.

It is gross, but it usually work

I have 4 boys and this is so true. Another thing....get one of those little fart machines (where you can trigger it with a remote) and randomly make the noise and act like it's you should get him into hilarious laughs.

Again...gross...but it seems to work.
12/09/2009 10:35:04 AM · #13
Originally posted by colyla:

Another thing....get one of those little fart machines (where you can trigger it with a remote) and randomly make the noise and act like it's you should get him into hilarious laughs.

Again...gross...but it seems to work.

You could save money and improve your health at the same time by just eating a bunch of broccoli (or whatever "turns you on") the night before and skipping the machine ... ;-)
12/09/2009 10:45:41 AM · #14
I often hear "I hate getting my photo taken so I'm not going to smile." To which I reply "That's OK, I hate taking your photo!" It has never faild to get a laugh form both young and old, it breaks the ice opens up dialog and moves the shoot along. Once you have made your subject feel a little more at ease they tend to continue to talk and you can move from one shot to the next and you'll usually get what you need to make them and Mom and Dad happy.

Just make sure your ready with your remote shutter to get their reaction because it's usually the best shot you'll get.

Hope this helps as much as the fart jokes and the fart machine is a good touch. Oh and for teenagers and adults I'll often flip them the bird, works like a charm.

All the best to you and yours.

12/09/2009 11:44:20 AM · #15
Boogers and fart jokes is usually part of my stock and trade with teenagers, but man - NOTHING worked on this kid! Toward the end he was smirking a little bit. Then, I saw him today. He bounced in the front door with a HUGE SMILE on his face and was like, "Hiya Missa!" *face/palm*
12/28/2009 03:56:50 PM · #16
I don't often work with small children, but when I do, I try to find a point of interest of them and talk about it.
I let them play with their own favourite toys, talk about those toys and I have some new toys behind my back in a box. Usually this works.
Except for once. I had to make some pictures of the little daughter of a friend of mine. Since they were early, I hadn't finish my set-up yet. I hurried to finish this up, did some tests with the flashes. And even before I had the chance to take my camera at hand, the little one said "Done! Now I'm going to play outdoors and jump".
The unknown toys came in very handy there.

My own kids are big enough to understand that sometimes they have to do something they don't like.
12/28/2009 05:00:37 PM · #17
Send in the clowns.

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edit to add: Results may vary...

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Message edited by author 2009-12-28 17:01:53.
12/28/2009 05:03:15 PM · #18
Hey anyone want 3 that they want to practice on??? Must pay FedEx overnight fees!!!
12/28/2009 05:10:48 PM · #19
Candies usually work wonders. On gypsy kids anyways...;-)

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12/28/2009 05:15:50 PM · #20
My youngest son at 2 yrs old. "That'll learn him!"

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12/28/2009 05:28:12 PM · #21
The saddest part is that some kids never get any better at this :-(
My babies are 15 and 18 (years, not months!) but I still had to buy Griselda to help me with the setup since the girls only have a two minute concentration span.

Sweets don't work anymore. Squeaky toys just make their eyes roll (I know this because I actually tried it!) and threats make them look crabby.


P.S. This is Griselda.... at least SHE holds still for me

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I am so glad that the thread killing statistic was removed!

Message edited by author 2009-12-29 01:07:35.
12/29/2009 03:26:06 PM · #22
Originally posted by JulietNN:

boogers, puke, poop, fart jokes usually work well with boys of 8 years old.

It is gross, but it usually work


I work fulltime at a studio, so I get the delight ;) of working with difficult children on a daily basis. You have to talk to them, ask what their favourite colour, flavour of icecream, tv show etc etc is, bathroom humour DEFINITELY works with boys. I usually gauge the reaction of the parents as to how far I can go, usually I'll ask the boy if he farted ( in a joking voice, not a serious one ;) I don't want him to think he's in trouble lol) and I've never had a boy who didn't crack up. Another popular one is asking if they have a girlfriend (or boyfriend if it's a girl) and they either laugh and say ewww/no, or say yes which opens another door to ask questions about them (ex. is she funny? -I've had many boys tell me no LOL, or do you two play games together?) I'll even threaten to tickle them if I think it'll get them to laugh. If they're super difficult I'll have fun with it and turn it into a game. Simon Says works brilliantly for some kids, who would have thought 'Simon Says 'smile'?' would actually work? It's also a good game if you're having problems keeping a kid still. Fun poses also help.. jumping poses for example loosen them up. Noises also help, with that age group farting sounds are usually golden. Toddlers, fake sneezes. I make an ass out of myself when it comes to photographing children, but the pictures are worth it in the end :) hahaha
12/29/2009 03:46:52 PM · #23
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12/29/2009 04:00:07 PM · #24
Originally posted by sillygoat:

I make an ass out of myself when it comes to photographing children

I would pay to see videos of you (and all the other child photogs in this thread) in action. ;-)
12/29/2009 04:12:34 PM · #25
But when you give them sweets, everything seems to be hunky dory!

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