Helen from the The Henley Photo School and myself had such a great seminar for parents at the Hennerton Golf Club last night! Considering it was the first time we’ve done anything like it, both Helen and me were extremely happy with the outcome. The staff of the club were simply brilliant, and everything just went very smoothly. Lovely group of attendees, and some great questions at the end.

Some people could not make it, so I thought I’ll write a blog post with my top 10 tips for photographing children. So here we go.

1. Plan it

To get good photographs of your children, you need to dedicate some time to do it. Just remember “who fails to plan, plans to fail”. It’s best to pick time when your kids are fresh and happy, mornings are usually best for that, but use the knowledge of your child to make your choice.

2.  Be patient

Patience is a virtue and and absolute must if you want to get really good shots. Wait for that perfect opportunity and it will come

3. Use fast shutter speed

You need to understand your camera settings, so you can set it up to ensure you camera is using fast shutter speed ( at least 1/125 or higher) . You need to be quick – there is nothing more frustrating than missing a good shot just because your camera is too slow.

4. Get down to their level

Photographing children from above produces quite distorted and unflattering images. You need to get down to your child’s height, and you’ll see a massive difference.

5. Have fun

The key to getting a great range of expressions is to get your kids excited and to have fun with them. Joy and happiness can not be faked, so do what it takes to make it enjoyable. Don’t tell your kids off, and don’t threaten them with punishment. You want them to associate photography with something positive. You can bribe them instead, by promising a treat after some fun with the photographs.

6. Dress them in plain clothes

Clothes that your children wear should not take the attention away from the expressions that you are capturing. Ensure they wear solid colours and something comfortable , so they can move freely. Primary colours: red, blue and green always look good.

7. Choose non-destructive backgrounds

Make sure that your background is not busy and you don’t have any unwanted people or objects in the shot. Green loan, solid green shrubs, walls with interesting texture make very good backgrounds.

8. Forget the “say cheese” words

You must remove “say cheese” from your vocabulary, as it never really works. Get your kids to shout out something silly instead, or get them to tell you a joke or a story… Genuine smile is priceless, so don’t settle for the fake ones.

9. Use Props

Props are very helpful in creating a story about your children and things that are important to them at this point in time. Get them to pose/play with something that gets them excited (could be toys, things on the playground, balls or anything that works for them). There is absolutely no limits to your creativity in terms of what can serve as a prop.

10. Let them come up with ideas & let kids be kids

Let you kids be creative when you photograph them – they might just surprise you! If they come up with a silly idea, don’t tell them off – let them do it. If they are happy, they are a lot more likely to do what you ask them to do, and you can capture a great range of expressions along the way. After all, let them be themselves and let them b kids, cheeky, funny and happy!