Working with children

As a photographer, I dream of capturing both of my girls in the same image where they are both calm (meaning one isn’t trying to detain the other in some sort of bear hug) and gazing into the camera for that perfect shot.  I often get that with other children, but never my own.  They think they’ve given me plenty of images in their short lives, so I should just stop chasing them around with the camera.  Well, I won’t give up, but I have learned that when working with children, you must remain calm and have plenty of patience.  You also have to lower your standards as to what you think is that perfect shot.  You could wait forever to try and capture that elusive peaceful, dreamy, non-fidgety pose.  Or you could just get this. 

You can tell that E’s over-smile means she’s just about to crack under big sis’ pressure.

Yep, there it is.  We’re just about to lose her forever with this photo op.

Wait….she seems to want to stay.  Nope, she didn’t quite lay down and is now out of focus and way too close to the light.

So, with E gone, it’s now up to big sis to give me a good face.  But, she’s not having it.

Well, wait…did you say I could have M&Ms, mommy?  Hmmm….lemme think….

Yes, you can have M&Ms AND play Mario Kart…

Bribery works every time. 

To recap, when working with kids, don’t always try to go for the smiley posed shots.  Be patient, be flexible, be enthusiastic, be calm, be open-minded, be prepared, be quick with the camera, and remember to let them be.  Their many moods ARE the perfect shot. 

Side note: My main point of doing these photos was to get some shots of another new backdrop I picked up.  Just a few yards of patterned fabric stitched together with a solid gray pattern on the back. It’s reversible – two backgrounds in one for a few bucks!  This small backdrop would ideally work with babies, less fidgety children, senior headshots or couple’s shots.

68 comments on “Working with children

  1. Saw your blog featured on WordPress and it caught my eye. This post made me giggle and smile. Thanks for the honest post which a fellow photographer (and mother) can relate to!

  2. Hi Jeri,
    I saw you blog on the wordpress homepage. It is indeed always a fun experience taking pictures of my children. The best ones are never the posed ones but the unexpected (by the children) snaps!.
    I sense you know this too.
    It is great being a parent.
    Enjoy a wonderful day,

  3. Zoe MacLean says:

    Those photographs are beautiful! I’m forever trying to get my two younger brothers to sit together for more than five minutes so that I can take a photo, but boys will be boys… and bribery doesn’t work on them anymore:)

  4. Zoe MacLean says:

    Those photographs are beautiful! Im forever trying to get my two younger brothers to sit together for more than five minutes so that I can take a photo, but boys will be boys and bribery doesnt work on them anymore

  5. shutterboo says:

    So much fun! And very cute little girls.
    Lately, I’ve been buzzing around kiddos with my kahuna. I think the reason I enjoy is the thrill of *maybe* getting an awesome shot. I’ll take photos over the real thing any day!

  6. Beth says:

    I have so much trouble getting my kids in photos! They see the camera and duck- guess I just have to keep shooting away..

  7. Beautiful! What immediately attracted me to this blog post was it’s title — Working with Children. As a preschool teacher I thought “hmmm some insight for the day” LOL.

    Although you’re speaking of photography I definitely walk away with exactly what I needed to be reminded of:
    “remain calm and have plenty of patience”, “lower your standards” and most importantly “Bribery works every time”!

    Children are big souls in little bodies, and when working with them we have to continuously be conscious of that.

    Thanks Jeri for the reminders😉

  8. samauger says:

    Good post! I’ll have to remember some of these tips. I usually work with inanimate objects and older kids:) I have a photo-blog of sorts on here. check it out!

  9. Jeri says:

    Thanks for the comments, everyone! Kids are definitely a challenge, but they will always make you laugh! Keep at it!

  10. Nura Keif says:

    Came across your blog. Gorgeous kids. Love all the photos:-D

  11. That top photo of the older one hugging the younger one is absolutely adorable. I would say it’s a perfect shot for sure! You’re blessed to have such cute little whippersnappers to call your own. =)

  12. Linh Linh says:

    wow your children lool like angels :X
    I agree, the first photo looks best!

  13. sibbu says:

    Hi Geri
    Just happened to stumble across your blog. Your daughters are adorable and your photographs even more. You indeed are truly blessed.

  14. musella says:

    What are cute girls!

  15. slamdunk says:

    Helpful tips and great photos. My dad was a professional photographer and he believed his sense of humor allowed him to connect with kids and helped with getting good images.

  16. sentimientosdeldiaadia says:

    I think these are some beautiful photos.
    And I agree with you that working with children requires patience, but it is very rewarding.

  17. Michael J. McFadden says:

    Great stuff thanks.

    • Michael J. McFadden says:

      The above comment, “Great stuff thanks.” was NOT penned by me. I just saw it due to a google alert. Your pics are quite good, but I did NOT leave the above comment and have no idea how it got there.

      Michael J. McFadden

  18. mumbaikar says:

    Very practical tips and wonderful kids.

  19. michelsauret says:

    My philosophy with kid portraits is that the worst thing you can do is photograph kids in pre-conceived poses. Let their characters shine and come out. I think these photos of your little girls are PERFECT because it shows who they really are and they’re much more fun and interesting to view than your typical “studio” shot.

    Nice post!

    • jeriamrine says:

      I totally agree, Michel. I’d much rather do outdoor sessions and get the children/families in their natural playful spirit. The winter months force me inside and I have to really practice patience and creativity in the enclosed environment.

  20. The pictures are wonderful. And yes, bribery works wonders! I have found that outtakes are sometimes the most delightful photographs, and I’ve often selected those rather than the more “cooperative” poses.

    Ironically, bribery still works with teenagers. Only it involves massive quantities of food, and the car keys. The outtakes remain delightful, and our “real life.”

    Loved the post.

  21. Lois says:

    I am a teacher in high school! Working with children is demanding and beautiful! The pictures are excellent and the girls are sweet! Certainly there is nothing more beautiful and cleaner than the children! That’s what radiates with photos!

  22. Jamie Kalicharan says:


    Being a first time parent , I am always taking pictures with my daughter. At first she hated it, now all I have to do is call her name with a soft tone and she smiles and the picture is taken. I believe that with all children you just have to take your time and be clam. With infants it may take a little more time to get a good shot.

  23. amoxaphobic says:

    Great pictures. My wife and I are expecting soon, and I can’t wait to have these same picture… “opportunities”. =)

  24. jingle says:

    there is nothing more adorable than lovely kids,
    I admire their innocent smiles,
    precious moments,
    timeless memories..

    elegant post, cheers,😉

  25. Jack says:

    nice kids

  26. pesh says:

    Hi Jeri,

    I love to photograph kids ANY time I have a chance. Lately though, I have been working to simplify my work behind the camera, that mostly meant that I am using less gear. Having less to think about really helps me stay open to their tiny little schedule. With my children and with others, I try to just let them be comfortable with me near them with this big black fingerprint magnet. Once they really are in THEIR zone (playing, reading, running, etc.) I see the opportunities to capture their personalities.

    Now, albeit I may not get a series of shots of a child ‘posing’ but I do love seeing them be themselves. Here is a recent post where my daughter was at the park with a friend:

    Great post and WONDERFUL images !

  27. thankgoditsfood says:

    Saw this on the wordpress main page. What a great post! These pictures definitely made me smile. Btw you have a really nice look going for your blog, love the layout!

  28. tightknot says:

    Jeri, your kids are beautiful and so is your photography! You are very talented and definitely have an “eye” for capturing the right thing, object, person, or expression. May you have continued success in all your endeavors. God bless!

  29. Tara Aarness says:

    Hi Jeri,

    Oh my, I’m dancing on the line here…One side of me can appreciate your efforts with photographing children (have only one, so I’m in awe at your magnificiant abilities!). The other side is screaming, ‘Noooooo!!!!! Quick, run!!! There’s the camera…AGAIN!!!’

    My dad’s a photographer and ‘his girls’ were his models. Growing up both my sister and I found unique places to hide when we heard his footsteps along with, ‘where are my girls?’ Once caught, we’d push each other closer to him while the other one ran in the opposite direction. Aw, memories….

    Thanks for sharing these fabulous photos of your beautiful girls. But please, try to go easy on them, just occasionally.


    • Jeri says:

      Thanks for the insight, Tara. I force myself to respect their boundaries, and definitely appreciate the times when my girls say “you can take pictures if you want, Mommy”. :)

  30. Lakia says:

    WOW, your pictures are amazing! I also like your header…

  31. Amazing talent! You have a gift.

  32. The shooting style for these photographs is beautiful along with the girls in them. Keep up the fantastic work!

  33. Leena S says:

    ur pictures are simply amazing…made me smile:)

  34. Dizzy Dee says:

    These are really beautiful pictures, and capture the fun aspect of the kids. They are two adorable little girls too:)

  35. BWC says:

    Those are great photos! And really enjoyed the blog.
    Keep it coming!

  36. Elvis says:

    I love those pictures. I would have been eternally proud and grateful to my parent if they had taken my picture as a kid and placed it on their blog. I appreciate your gesture with those pictures. They are very beautiful. I love children. God bless them.

  37. A_wandering_mind says:

    Great pictures.

  38. […] who the heck was reading my blog besides my husband, mom and a few friends?!  It turns out that my “Working With Children”  blog post was featured on WordPress and tons of people from all over the world viewed it.  I […]

  39. The pic’s are precious.

  40. softballgirl78 says:

    This is a very good post and it’s very truthful. I love the pictures, they look like wonderful girls!

  41. Andrea says:

    Gee, they’re so beautiful!!!

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  43. martin says:

    Your photos are very nice and what you are doing is great,keep on can read my blogs on wordpress too.martin.ndugu.wordpress.coom

  44. JT says:

    sooooo cute grls….lovely[:)]

  45. mysticprince009 says:

    the photographs does pictures beautiful wonderful moments…they are superb great

  46. mysticprince009 says:

    was just surfin around the blog when i came across ur blog…the photographs does pictures beautiful wonderful moments…they are superb great…and the kids are really cute…

  47. Hi, i luv these pictures, i actually thought it was quite interesting that you as an artist would want a perfectly posed pics. your children are beautiful and they should captured and remembered to be the way they are. it’s fun to capture every moment in it’s essence, so enjoy them and God bless.
    btw: you’re good photographer.

  48. skidzopedia says:

    Such sweet little girls! God bless them!

  49. draupadi says:

    Very beautiful pictures! I´m working as a childminder:
    and with my handy I took very nice shoots. Best wishes for your family – Elisabeth.

  50. herrman says:

    contrast…. “i’m happy”

  51. Mackenzie says:

    you are lucky your blog gets comments good blog

  52. Vineeta says:

    Excellent blog & pictures!

  53. mtrtmk says:

    Beautiful photos. Big Sis looks so peaceful and contented when she makes E cry, almost as if to say “Mission Accomplished”.

  54. missmiss says:

    What beautiful children! I have two kids and I can perfectly relate to what you are saying!

  55. KarinU says:

    I bet down the road some of the out-takes will warm your heart and bring back good memories. The great thing about photographing your own children is that you can call a “do-over” whenever you want. I’m not a professional photographer but started doing photo shoots with my own kids when they were younger because it was hard to get as much as I wanted in a professional’s limited time frame (and on a mom’s limited budget).

  56. sbibb says:

    Beautiful pictures, both in expression and in style. Thanks for posting this.:-)

  57. aviatrix says:

    Lovey Kids,
    Lovely Pics!

  58. Casey Leigh says:

    Your pictures are wonderful, your girls are precious. I especially liked how you set up the pictures explaining what was going on. I’ve been working with kids at an afterschool program for 5 years and you hit on the nail: you need patience, to be clam and cool and knowing when you have leverage (bribery, setting them up to make good decisions, etc)

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