As a photographer, one of the challenges that I often face is finding balance between making emotive authentic images and perfectly posed and smiling images, especially with children.
Whether you’re photographing your own kids or others during a session, here are five games I’ve picked up which can make for a more enjoyable experience for all.
Imaginative word play games
I love this game for older kids. An example of a word play game is for you to say a word and then you have the child say the first thing that flashes into their head.
You might say, “tickle” while the child might reply, “laugh.”
Another example would be for you to say “pool.” And she says, “splash.”
This is a really fun game when you bring mom and dad in on the fun, too!
The whole family can get in on the fun with tongue twisters. It opens up dialogue and takes the edge off everyone at the beginning of a session. Some examples to recite are:
- She sells sea shells by the sea shore
- Sister Sarah shines her silver shoes for Sunday
- A big black bug bit a big black bear
Bring prizes for the winners of the games played. It can be as simple as a lollipop or a roll of stickers, tearing off a few to the winner.
Prizes also make great incentives for the kids. There are no rules that say you can’t use bribery!
Create a list of items that the children can find in their home or on location. Siblings can do the activity together as you name out the items on the list.
Stand back at a distance and follow them as they search for the item, allowing you to capture natural joyful interactions between siblings.
I find that playing music, especially for little ones, brings out many smiles and their wiggles. I usually have a playlist on my phone of child must-haves and will ask the parents if there is a favorite.
The parents and myself will start to dance in order to entice the little ones to join us. Currently, my favorite song to break out is the theme song to Zootopia!
By the time you’re done, most children do not want to stop playing the games since they’re having a fun time and did not even realize that photos were being taken of them.