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8 Ways to Avoid Photographer’s child Syndrome
Lessons Learned
8 Ways to Avoid Photographer’s child Syndrome

How many times have we heard someone say, “My child hates the camera and runs away every time I pick it up.”? I hear this all too often and know that the more you pick up your camera and practice that the chances of your kids getting photographer’s kid syndrome increase.

When I first started my journey, I decided to complete a Project 365 where you take a photo everyday for a year. Since my children were my main subjects, I had to quickly learn to how to prevent photographer kid syndrome so they wouldn’t run when I picked up the camera.

Below are a list of tips and tricks I’ve used over the past 5 years. My children don’t run from the camera and instead sometimes fight over who gets to be in the image.

Yes! I need this. My kids are so sick of my camera and run in the other direction. Can't wait to try these tips! via Click it Up a Notch
Read more: 7 secrets for creating better everyday photos

  • No.
    01
    Don’t ask them to stop what they are doing

    If you see a child doing something in the right light and you know you want to capture that moment, then quietly go get your camera and take some images. Don’t ask them to stop what they are doing to look at you or move. No one wants to be interrupted and ask to “Look at the camera. Wait. One more. Ok, one more. No really, this is the last one.” Let the kids play.
    8 ways to avoid photography child syndrome

  • No.
    02
    Listen and respect their requests

    If your child asks you to stop taking pictures, listen and respect them. Even if that means you don’t get the shot it is a small price to pay to prevent your child from feeling like they don’t have a voice when it comes to someone taking photos of them. You are not the paparazzi. When children feel they have a voice they are more willing to cooperate.

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  • No.
    03
    Whisper their name

    I realize that sometimes we want photos of our kids looking at the camera in a really natural way. One way to achieve this is by allowing them to play and then after you have the shot ready to go, quietly whisper their name and click the shutter. You will get the most natural look and I bet it will quickly become a favorite of yours.

    One my daughter’s last day of school I wanted to capture some images to remember this moment. She was not in the mood and asked me to stop. I put the camera way and she continued to play. After a while I asked if she minded if I took some pictures and she agreed. Then I quietly whispered her name and I snapped this picture. This is so much more my daughter than the posed images I was trying to capture earlier that was frustrating both of us.
    DSC_8997

  • No.
    04
    Never say cheese

    I’m sure this is obvious, but don’t ask them to say cheese. Instead if you really do need a quick smile then say something else. “Monkey” works and depending your child “Poop” or something a little more silly would do the trick as well. Plus saying something that would actually make your kids giggle will guarantee you are more genuine look than cheese. But be prepared because no matter how hard you try to not teach them cheese, as soon as you send them off to school they come home saying cheese.

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  • No.
    05
    Set a timer or agree to a picture count

    Often times if I have something in mind that I want to capture verses just photographing the moment, I will ask one of my kids for help. Prior to taking the photos we agree to a time or picture count. So for example, I will say, “Hey, will you come sit by the window and turn this way. We will only take pictures for 7 minutes. When the timer goes off we are done.” Nine times out of time they willingly agree. I then set a timer and honor it when it goes off even if I didn’t get the shot I want. Not only does this help my kid trust me and the camera but it forces me to really focus knowing I only have a few minutes.

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  • No.
    06
    Thank them

    Kids are people too. Thank them for their time and compliment them on how well they did. Even if the child is only 2 years old they will appreciate the kindness and remember next time it’s time to take photos.

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  • No.
    07
    Don’t be above bribery

    People have mixed feelings on bribing their kids to take photos. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not above it. If I have something in mind and I need them to cooperate I may bribe with a piece of chocolate or to watching a favorite TV show depending on how much time I am asking from them. I don’t do this every time but it sure helps.

    DSC_3544

  • No.
    08
    Put the camera down

    Yes, you read that right. Put your camera down and experience life with your kids. You don’t want to experience their childhood through your view finder. You don’t want your kids to forget what you look like because your camera is always in your face.

By combining these tips and changing things up you will prevent your kids from hating the camera.

However, if the damage is done and your child already runs from the camera, then I have a challenge for you.

For the next 30 days you are not allowed to ask your child to look at the camera. Not even to whisper their name or to bribe them. You have to retrain your child that the camera isn’t this terrible thing.

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4 Comments
  • Angenise Rawls
    September 15, 2016 at 12:30 PM

    Thank you! This is really powerful, especially No. 8! I am a mom who assists my husband with our photography business. I have found that playing with them and spending time with them reminds me to cherish the moments by living them, then I can truly smile at the photos because there was genuine love shared before the camera was used!

  • Tina
    September 15, 2016 at 12:55 PM

    Once my baby sees the camera, he wants it and then cries because he can’t have it.

    Picture time over

  • Toni
    September 16, 2016 at 9:27 AM

    Thank you! This is great!

  • Sarah
    September 16, 2016 at 2:56 PM

    Such great pictures and advice!

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