I get asked regularly for tips on how I get both my girls to look at the camera – and look happy – at the same time. Here’s a “how-to” post, if you will, on the method that I use. Warning: by no means do I consider myself an expert on the subject!
Here is a sample photoshoot experience with my little craz…I mean, princesses.
Reaghan – 2.5 years, Kenzington – almost 8 mos.
I always start out with the baby. I take a few minutes and scrounge up whatever outfit she needs to be photographed in and attempt to distract her from the headband that she hates wearing. All of this is planned right in the moment when she is most happy – usually about an hour after eating, and an hour before nap time…right in the middle there.
Once sister realizes what is going on and sees Kenzie getting attention, she always wants “picture Reaghan, too, Mommy?” Works like a charm…everytime! So I rush to get Reaghan all dolled up as quickly as possible while Kenzie gets to chew on a toy for a minute. Every model needs a break now and then.
I position them as close as I can to each other, in the direction of the light. This was on the futon in our spare room using what little window light was available because I did not think ahead to set up any sort of flash prior to starting. Too late now (or I would risk losing their attention and smiles)!
Next, I hoot, holler, clap, whistle, growl…anything to try and get them to look at the camera. Obviously, Mommy isn’t as interesting as she thinks she is.
* Note – sometimes, the incentive of an m&m is necessary to keep Reaghan from screaming when Kenzie grabs at her.
Kenzie has turned in to a parana…she will eat anything that gets close enough to her mouth.
It’s usually in these first few moments that I can capture Reaghan loving on her sister. She is getting better about this even without the camera being out, so I don’t have to use quite as many incentives. AND, if I am sure to request the kisses early on, she has yet to realize that Kenzie is bothering her.
It also helps that Reaghan was able to delay nap time with this photoshoot. She will be as sweet as necessary to avoid going to her room.
Every once in a while I get really lucky and get that perfect shot of them smiling together before one of them as a meltdown. Today was not one of those times. Kenzie decided she was done taking pictures.
At this point whoever is having the fit gets to take a break. Kenzie played on the floor with Reaghan’s comb and water bottle while big sister got a little one-on-one time. She loves wearing dresses, and LOVES twirling in them even more!
Ever since Reaghan was an infant, she has been an extremely expressive child. This is a trait she has not grown out of. Here are a few of our favorite expressions lately:
Once the meltdown-affected child has a chance to re-gain sanity, I try one last time for that picture of them smiling together…it sometimes takes longer than others.
and then…BINGO. Finally got one. Camera goes away and girls get to take off their headbands. The whole process takes less than 20 minutes. Any longer than that and I’d be making a monkey out of myself for the furniture’s entertainment!
I am positive that there are better methods out there, but this is what works for us. :)
Reece + Katrina are a husband and wife photography duo who specialize in weddings and high school seniors.