Getting Your Child to Stay Still for Photos
Parents takeÂ countless photos of theirÂ children. But most of us arenât professional photographers and arenât able to splurge on those more than occasionally. So how do the experts get babies and toddlers to sit still long enough to get such beautiful pictures of them? What do they do that you can try at home so you donât snap yet another blurry image of your tot running away from you when youâre trying to capture that special moment?
Here are some tips from photographers on how they get their littlest clients to stay put and look at them during a shoot.
- Give them a place to sit. Once babies learn to walk, they have a hard time sitting still, period, and constantly want to get up and practice their new skill. Thereâs so much to explore! But if you give them a little stool or chair, a car, a rocking horse or another place to sit, theyâre much more likely to oblige, at least for a little while. And if itâs something tall to sit on that they canât get down from as easily, all the better.
- Give them a toy or treat to hold. Once youâve gotten the child to sit down, hand her a little doll, stuffed animal, toy car or pack of candy and let her examine it for a while. Itâs a good way to distract her from bolting out of the seat. And when she looks up, hopefully with a smile on her face, youâll be ready to catch the moment on film.
- Put a goofy hat or rabbit ears on your head or give them something else to look at. Autumn, a photographer and writer ofÂ theÂ Itâs Always AutumnÂ blog, puts bunny ears or a ridiculous hat on and then repeatedly asks the child whatâs on her head â which not only gets him to look at her but also elicits laughter. Waving toys or candy around for the tot to look at and promising that he can hold it afterwards might also do the trick.
- Make silly noises. Being armed with an array of funny and silly noises you can make to get your little onesâ attention is a good one to try. A crazy sound will often make them stop what theyâre doing and look up to figure out what it is. Just be ready to snap the photo when they do!
- Donât force them to sit still, and follow them around instead. If you canât beat âem, join âem. Though the posed, sitting-still photos are lovely, sometimes itâs just not meant to be â so get down on your babyâs or toddlerâs level and follow them around wherever they go, shooting pictures whenever they do something cute (which is often). Chances are, youâll get a lot of really good ones that way.
- Ask them to play âcopycatâ or peek-a-boo with you. Many of the professionals play peek-a-boo to get children to sit still and look at them, using their camera to hide behind and then popping out. It works especially well with younger babies and toddlers. For the 2- and 3-year-olds, asking them to copy what youâre doing might yield better results. You strike whatever pose youâd like them to be in, they copy you and you take the photo.
Catherine Donaldson-Evans is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in numerous publications.
When she isnât writing and editing, Catherine can be found chasing after a toddler, a baby and a husband â not necessarily in that order.