Saturday, 23 May 2015

How to get uncooperative children to pose for photos

Yesterday I posted 'How to get children into photography' and so far I have been overwhelmed with the amazing comments I have received, but there was one from San who blogs over at 2 little faces who caught my attention. She wanted to know how to get children to pose as her little one tends to avoid the camera. As a fellow blogger, I feel the pressure to post quality photos of my children when I am writing about them. I am sure we are not the only ones who have days when the children run away whenever the camera comes out. We take time to plan our blog posts and the photos to accompany them, and we get excited about being able to show our ideas to our readers. However, on the day you want to take your photos when the weather is perfect, the location picturesque, and the children are looking smart, the unimaginable happens, your children just don't want to play. They are more interested in rolling down hills, getting their smart clothes and groomed hair completely filthy. Or perhaps they would rather hide underneath the dining table if you are taking indoor shots. Whatever the case may be, I have eventually learned to just relax and go with the flow. Here are a few of my methods I use to get my children to pose nicely for photos: 

☆ Put down the camera

Sounds strange when we are talking about taking photos but seriously put it to one side. If you are inside or outside, try having fun for a few minutes. Run around and play with the children, then once everyone is relaxed and into the activity, pick up the camera and snap away. 

☆ Engage with them

If you feel like they are bored and uninterested in posing for your photo, sit and engage with them while snapping away. Tell a joke to get that perfect smile, talk to them to improve their expression, and ask them any random questions to get more genuine photos rather than posey shots. Below I told Alfie a secret and told him to whisper it into his brothers ear. I just love Thomas' cheeky expression after hearing the joke Alfie told him.

☆Stay calm 

The more frustrated you get, the less likely your children are going to want to pose nicely for you. Children are going to be silly, they are energetic little things and of course they are not going to want to stay in one place for too long. You have to expect this so just breathe, be patient and smile. 

☆Posing is Overrated

When it comes to photographing children, I feel the best photos are those when you catch them unaware. Forcing your child to pose a certain way can sometimes create flattering images but trying to direct them can prove impossible. 

Above is a photo I took where I asked the children to stand nicely next to the red telephone boxes. This was one of the best shots I could get, they just wanted to mess about. I gave up and realised that when you try to get kids to pose, they just look stiff, uncomfortable and awkward. They just hate having their fun delayed to stand for a photo. 


I know that many people will disagree with this method and I try not to bribe my children into cooperating with me, but from time to time it has been a useful tool when I am really desperate. It's kind of like a payment for their hard work. I will promise to buy them an ice-cream if we are on days out or will allow them to stay up for an extra fifteen minutes before bedtime. 

☆Ask them to play copycat

This is perfect for those children who are able to understand what you're asking. Strike a simple pose, then ask your child if they can do the same thing. Try a few funny poses first to make them think they are playing a really fun game. Then move on to other poses, asking them again if they can copy you. As long as you keep telling them what an amazing copycat they are, they should continue to copy you until you get your perfect shot. 

The above photo took fifteen minutes to get right. I had to eventually play the copycat game by laying on the grass to show them how I wanted them to pose. 

☆Be prepared to change your plans

If you had a plan of how you wanted your photos to look but it turns out you just not going to be able to achieve the right image, try something different. Do not get stressed over it. For example, I had planned a mothers day blog post so wanted the children to pose with a bunch of flowers against a white wall. However, when I passed them the huge bunch, they complained that they disliked flowers and refused to hold them. It was frustrating because I knew they were just being awkward, they pick wild flowers all the time. So instead of getting angry, I decided to take a break for an hour to think about something fun we could do instead. 

We decided to take photos with the cards the children made for me instead which they were very proud to show off. 

☆Let them do their thing

The last tip I want to share is to simply photograph them doing everyday things such as painting, watching Tv, playing with their toys or sleeping. Try shooting a photo without them staring into the camera while shouting 'cheese'. I love the natural shots the best where you can tell the children are unaware of the camera. They show the beauty of childhood and capture the most perfect expressions on their faces. 

I hope these tips were helpful if you have been struggling lately to get your children to cooperate for photos. What are your favourite tricks to get the perfect shot?



  1. themamastory.com30 May 2015 at 20:57

    Great tips! My 3 year old year doesn't often want to pose anymore so I've just been going with it. She mostly wants to take photos of me now actually!

  2. Entertaining Elliot31 May 2015 at 17:10

    Some great tips, my toddler sometimes doesn't play ball when it comes to photos! He's started doing this strange grimace like hes grinding his teeth when I try a take a pic and he says hes pretending to be the evil minion lol! x

  3. hilarious!! I love all the photos but the mushroom has to be the winner :D Some great tips, you are clearly a pro ;) Thanks for linking up to #TheList xx


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