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How Your Photographer Can Engage Your Flower Girl or Ring Bearer to Get Great Photos

January 25, 2012

How many times have you seen wedding photos with the flower girl pouting? Or the ring bearer crying?

How can you avoid upset kids in your wedding photos…or worse not being able to have the kids in the photos at all?
I have a simple trick that I as the photographer can do to engage the kids and get them to feel comfortable during the posed photo process.
When I arrive I make sure I meet the kids. I learn their names, I tell them my names, and I explain why I’m there. Then while I’m around taking the “getting ready” photos I make sure I spend some time with each kid involved. I remind them who I am and why I’m there. I show them my camera. I demonstrate how I take photos with my camera and let them see themselves on the screen. Then I talk with them. I ask them about school, favorite colors, what they like to do when they play. Sometimes we sing songs or tell stories. Sometimes we dance together. I always compliment how they look. Multiple times. In fact, I gush over how awesome they look in person and in photos. The better they feel about how they look, the happier they are to pose for me.
I make sure to wave, smile or wink at them every time they catch my eye. The more attention you give them, the more they like you. The more they like you, the better behaved they’ll be.
If they are comfortable with me and like to be around me, they’ll be more attentive when I need them for group pictures. If I’ve already figured out the things that they like when I talked to them earlier I can talk about those things again while I’m doing posed group photos. I often find myself singing and dancing around (with camera glued to my face of course) in front of the entire bridal party to get the kids to look at the camera. The bridal party often finds this amusing and I get some great smiling/laughing photos of them too.
The best thing I can tell you is to make sure your photographer spends time with the kids and becomes friends with them. I’ve seen it work both ways. I’ve never had problems with kids not wanting to do photos for me because I take the time to become their friend. I’ve seen other photographers ignore the kids until the group photos and the kids almost always stand there for two photos and then start to get upset. If you’re friends with the kids they will cooperate a lot longer. If you make it fun for them and make them think it’s all about them because you are talking to them and them alone (even though we all know it’s really about the bride) you will get even more cooperation.
Then I spend the rest of the night being buddies with the kids. I can get great smiles from them all night long. Every time I see them I can get great smiles from them simply by smiling at the kids first and they will automatically smile back at me, their friend, and I can snap a great shot.
Of course it help that I love kids! For me, it’s not just about getting great photos of the kids. Kids make my world. When I’m friends with the kids, it makes my night so much better because we have so much fun being buddies, taking photos, and singing and playing together. Happy kids=happy photographer and vise versa.

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