Tiny Tot Tips for Mom, Dad & Photographers

Shooting with kids can get rough; children and family photographers know that best. Whether they're light on nap time, missed their afternoon snack, or just having a bad day, they're unpredictable and anything can happen.

I've now been working with kids for about a year and a half from a week old and beyond. Although I haven't mastered every trick in the tiny tot tool book, I've learned a bit about how to capture awesome flicks of your little ones.

March brought Sheryl and her family over to Oahu from San Diego, including Miles celebrating his first birthday at Aulani (I know, I was jealous too) and his 3.5 year old big sister, Gwen.

See more of the Haines Family collection here.


For the Photographer –


Spray and pray

Kids wear emotions on their face and I'd imagine most could pick out exactly what they're feeling at any given time. The giggles come in waves, anger and excitement disappear in a split second, and they'll likely make eye contact with the camera 1 in 20 times (if you're lucky). So capture every moment you can, embrace the candids, and remember the handful of great ones are well worth it.

Let em' run the session

Kids are the most stubborn human beans (pun intended) around, but who can blame them? Some start off cheesing too hard then develop an irreplaceable pout by the end of your session and vice versa. Family sessions mean more than just capturing the little ones, so give them a break and capture some flicks of mom and dad. Parents know their kids best, so ask them how they think the session should flow to keep the littles ones smiling the longest.

Get on their level

I'm used to working long hours on foot at weddings and events, but working with little ones is the complete opposite. Get on the ground and shoot from different perspectives. Young ones grow by the day, so be sure to capture every bit of them while they're little specs in the sand.


For Mom, Dad & the Kids –


Book & plan ahead

Long drives to the ends of the island where the lighting is prettiest at dusk probably sounds a lot more appealing to mom and dad than the little one(s). Book your family session ahead of time and plan for an afternoon nap so the entire family is fully energized during your session.

Play a game, bring a toy (& blanket)

Start off simple by letting the kids run around and explore the area or distract younger ones with their favorite toy. Toddlers love hanging around on the ground, so have a neutral blanket or throw to use in sitting portraits or just to wind down on (Target has some of my favorites). You won't regret it.

Get Goofy

Watching a stranger point a chunk of aluminum and glass at you can get pretty weird. Crack a funny inside joke, let out a a silly sound, or make the goofiest face you can to lighten the mood and get the kids rolling. Candid photos of a non-stop giggler are the best ones to look back on, plus who can keep a straight face listening to a lil one's hysterical laugh?