During a recent photo shoot, a family wanted me to photograph only their young children and not the entire family. As I forgot to send out a family survey, I only learned about this a few minutes before the shoot. In the beginning, the photoshoot was hard going, the kids weren't being themselves, they were stiff and posed. So I ditched the props and all my previous composition ideas for the location and just let the kids be kids. It was more important to me that the kids were themselves than to capture a photo of them being 'styled'.
Here are some games I came up with (and I want to remember) on the fly that I thought would be helpful to other photographers and families doing family photoshoots in the future.
1 Red Light, Green Light
Now a popularized game because of Squid Game is a fantastic primer for the kids to do some running while you do some shooting, I mean photographing! To play this game, have the kids/family stand on the imaginary line to start. When you say green light, the family moves towards you, you can take some awesome walking shots here. Then say red light for them to freeze. I sometimes change it up a little and create a rule when I say red light everyone have to grab/hug another person or squish together.
2 Simon Says
This one is for the slightly older kids. I usually begin by asking them to do simple tasks like twirl, jump, make a silly face, and then add in a little interaction with each other like finding the most ticklish spot on your dad! Have them do different emotions - happy, sad, excited. Also, the best one I have tried is "Without moving your hands or feet, try to wiggle your ears!"
3 Let's race!
This one might be the most tiring and dangerous one for me as I sometimes have to run backwards to capture the pure joy and excitement of catching the photographer while not getting caught (cause I like winning). But as this photo (above) illustrates, the risk is worth it!
Ask the oldest person to whisper a secret in the ear of the other person and vice versa. This captures some of the quiet moments. Sometimes I will ask them to share a silly joke and this would make for some nice candid laughing photos.
This timeless game works best with babies and toddlers. You can hide behind a tree or have mom/dad hide behind the camera and play peek-a-boo with the child. It might take a few tries, but when they get it, they will not stop!
Are you looking to get some family photos done and would love a memorable session that is more play and less stress? Check out my availability here - https://book.usesession.com/t/KBuFB1KedvC