I was photographing children long before I was a newborn Photographer. I also took a few years of child development in school and was a teachers aide. So I knew very well how to work with children. Knowing what they are developmentally capable of is super important because you won’t waste time trying to do something the child can’t or won’t do.
Posing with Children requires quite a few things…
1 – patience
2 – knowledge of age development
3 – control of the situation
4 – reward (if applicable)
5 – assistance
For example, laying a 2 year old down with a newborn is almost impossible. They will do it all day long at home -ask them to do it in the studio and they won’t. They usually equate it to nap time or sleepy time and its not normal to lay down with a newborn outside the home. So if the child is under 3 I usually won’t even ask. If I do ask the parents will say ” oh yes they do it at home” – I will try once and if it doesn’t work move on. This will usually work for 3 and up if you have a Bribe. It could be bubbles, lollipops that will stick in our camera or anything the parents allow.
As for bribes, we always ask the Parents BEFORE mentioning it to the child! Super important especially ages 1-5. Some kids have NEVER HAD A LOLLIPOP and I am not going to the one to spoil it for them. So I quietly ask the Parents before any sweet, cookie or other edable offering. Also – you don’t know if there is a food allergy or a sugar issue. If you mention it in front of the child and the Parent says no, or there is an allergy issue the child may get super upset and you don’t need that!
For kids holding babies, I usually do not attempt it unless the child is 4 or older – unless they are a super mature 3 and even then its questionable. It’s better if the baby is wrapped so you don’t have to worry about arms and legs. You have to have a spotter close by! Kids will often just get up when they are done and not think twice about safely passing the baby! In fact, rarely are children thinking about safety. If you do not have a spotter, please have the Parent – usually the Dad within arms distance. I will even have them hold the arm of the child if I think they won’t support the baby. We often will stick posing pillows under the toddlers arm to support the baby as well.
For child/baby posing I am usually at least a 4.0 aperture, sometimes 3.5 if I can get them nice and close and on the same plane. I want to make sure everyone is in focus. You have seconds to get the shot, so your exposure has to be dead on! I will usually photograph the baby first if they are on a prop, before bringing the toddler over. If the child is holding, then I will photograph the child first before adding the baby, to make sure the exposure is correct.
Child below is 3 years and baby is 10 days.
Need more guidance? I did a two hour live stream of working with this darling little boy above. You can become a Member of our site and login to watch it.