Tips For Photographing A Shy Child | Carlsbad Family Photographer

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Worried your sweet, shy child won’t warm up for family photos?

Put your mind at ease. As a San Diego and Carlsbad family photographer with over a decade of experience, I have plenty of tricks up my sleeve to help your little one feel comfortable.

In my many years as a Carlsbad family photographer, I’ve worked with children with a wide range of comfort levels and personalities. Most photographers (myself included) want to capture uninhibited, authentic joy and happiness in our family photo sessions, especially when it comes to our smallest clients. A lot of parents of shy children worry their child won’t warm up for photos and use their usual fall-back of  the dreaded, “say cheese!” Our parents used to say it to us and now we need to break the cycle!

Over time and through lots of trial and error, I’ve developed some good strategies for getting real, happy emotions out of shy children. I’m going to share my tips and advice for photographing shy kids because we all love authentic smiles and those are the photos you are going to treasure for years to come!

1. I Will Get To Know Your Family

After you book your family photography session, I send out a pre-session questionnaire to every client when they book a session with me. A variety of questions are touched on. I ask about the personalities and interests of each family member and what little thing they love about each unique child. For example, some moms tell me that their kids are quieter and serious but they want to capture how sweetly the child snuggles up to them in new surroundings. That might mean we won’t get a huge belly laugh, but I never count it out! My first goal is to capture that special moment with mom. Then we work from there. If I know ahead of time we will be working with some shyness, referring to the pre-session questionnaire is a great resource.

2. What Are Your Child’s Interests

Again, this goes back to the questionnaire, which is golden (especially for shy kids) as far as I’m concerned. If my clients let me know their daughter loves gymnastics, I come with enough questions to chat for days. It helps I have two daughters who are gymnasts!  If mom says that her toddler loves Cocomelon, I am prepared to sing whatever their favorite song is! I also have a little one, so we watch a lot of Cocomelon. Most kids will completely forget about how nervous they are if you show interest in things they love.

3. I Give Them Space

When I arrive at a session knowing I’ll be photographing shy kids, I give the children plenty of space. I never try to take a child out of their parents’ arms. We might start the session where I give prompts to snuggle your child and capture some of those tender moments. This will also give them time to get used to the idea that we are taking pictures and shows them that family photos aren’t a scary process.

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4. I Give Them A Little One On One Attention

Once I earn the child’s trust a little, I might pull them aside. Giving a shy child some special attention can be just what they need. I show them my camera and let them push the button to hear the sound. I might even tell a few silly jokes! Hopefully by taking these extra steps, the child starts to see that this is a fun experience. They will also see I’m just goofy and fun to play with. They will soon realize there is nothing to be afraid of.

5. I Work With Their Moods

What if they are still crying? Then we will keep doing the shots in the safety of the parent’s arms. Believe it or not, these moments are just as precious. They may not be exactly what you envisioned, but the goal is to capture children in their happy, natural state, and if that is in your arms, that is still a beautiful thing! Remember, they will only want to be in your arms for so long!

Check out this post for more tips on preparing your children for a family photography session.

Ready to book your San Diego & Carlsbad Family Photographer?

Tristan Quigley Photography is based in San Diego and travels to surrounding areas including Encinitas, Carlsbad, La Jolla, Del Mar, Rancho Sante Fe, Cardiff, San Marcos, Oceanside, Carmel Valley, Coronado and other surrounding San Diego areas.

Please contact me if you’re interested in booking your photography session with Tristan Quigley Photography.

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