Wednesday, May 23, 2012

photo tip : bribe, or not to bribe

In the past 5 years, I have heard the craziest bribes from parents to get their kids to smile.

“Do you want this (gigantic) lollipop? Smile, and you can have the whole thing!”
“Mc Donald’s is going to close in 5 minutes...hurry (the hell) up and smile!”
“Do you want to go to Japan with me and Daddy or do you want to stay home?”
“Smile and daddy will take you to the movies…you can get the biggest popcorn and TWO candies!” (talking to a 1-year old)
“One more smile and we’ll make our backyard into a basketball court!”

Crazy, right? Some made me laugh inside and some made me cringe. Oh, what parents would do!

When I quit taking photos professionally, I stopped taking pictures of Blee. If you look at my photos, I only have about 10 images for January, February, and March of 2012. LAME. That is when I decided to start this blog. It forces me to take pictures and try new angles to make them interesting. At first, it was pretty easy. I would wait for Blee to be in a good mood, find the perfect lighting, and then shoot away. But since I started this blog, Blee’s a little…mmm…annoyed by me and my camera.


To Bribe, or Not to Bribe? That is the question.

My answer? Go for it if your subject is UNDER 2 years old. If he/she is older than 2, you will most likely get the totally awkward, totally fake, hurry-up-and-give-me-my-toy smile.

From my experience, talking to kids and engaging them have worked.

For younger kids (2-6yrs)
*Have them jump, or twirl around. This usually will get me a natural smile*

*Have them pretend like an animal*

*Sing a song with hand motions*
Itsy Bitsy Spider, Hokey Pokey, If You’re Happy and You Know It, Wheels on the Bus

*Say, “I’m going to tickle you!”*

*Have them run towards you/someone else*

*Use a prop that you’re ok with if it’s in the photo (bubbles, books, etc)*

For older kids (6+ yrs)

*Talk about their teachers, schools, favorite sport*
*Have them tell you something funny that mommy/daddy/sister/ uncle/etc did*
*Have them imagine something silly (daddy drinking from a bottle, mommy playing in the mud)*

*Have the KID tickle somebody. Then, have that “somebody” run away so that you can get the shot. You can also use stuffed animals and have them tickle it*
*Boys like talking about farts and poop. I’m all for it if it gets me a smile*

It's true when they say it's difficult to photograph your own kid. I look like a total fool jumping up and down screaming crazy things. Oh, the things you do for that ONE good image!

So instead of photos like this...

...or like this...

You can get these...

Happy shooting!

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