Five Tips for Photographing Kids on Film

Family Photography Education, Sandra Coan five tips for photographing kids on film

Film is beautiful!  There is no denying it!  But many film photographer fear using it when working with kids.  I get it!  Kids wiggle and move, and film cameras are much slower than digital cameras.  But it can be done... and the results are worth taking on the challenge!

Here are my 5 tips for photographing kids on film.

1) Engage them.  Sing a song.  Play a peek-a-boo.  Be silly!

One thing I like to do is point to my lens and ask the child I'm working with if he can see my eye in the "window" on my camera. Once they are still and looking in the lens I snap the image.  It works every time.

Family photography tips on how to photograph children using film cameras

2) Give them something to do.  This works great with toddlers!  Let them read a book. Put a sticker on the floor in front of them.  Let them hold their favorite stuffy.  Giving them something to do will keep them happy and engaged.  It also can lead to some fun photos! (Notice the sticker on the floor under the baby on the left's hand)

Family photography posing, tips on how to engage children in photos by Sandra Coan

3) Don't rush it.  When working with kids, it's natural to feel like you have to be quick in order to get a good shot. Feeling the need to rush is stressful.  Just remember, kids feel your energy.  If you feel stressed they will too.  So take your time.  Set up the shot.  Engage your little model and wait until the moment is right to take the photo.  I watched the guy in the photo below reading his book for a good five minutes before he looked over at me and I was able to get this image. Taking your time pays off!  

Baby photography resources how to photography babies with film cameras

4) Use lights.  Using a strobe or a flash will allow you to shoot in low light AND the flash will freeze motion.  A total win/win, especially when working with kids.  So use strobes and flash, then let the kids jump on the bed or run around! They'll be happy and you'll have fun, perfectly lit photos that your clients will LOVE!!


5) Practice.  Like most things, getting good at shooting kids on film takes practice!  So photograph your own kids, or borrow a friend's if you don't have any of your own.  Just practice, practice, practice, practice.  The more you do it, the easier it will become!