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Photographing Children at weddings...

...Can be a nightmare!

It’s not so much the photographing but getting the child to look at the camera long enough (along with everyone else) to capture the shot with them looking at the camera as opposed to not looking at the camera.

I recently photographed a small wedding where there were 2 children (boys) aged 4 and 6.  Very well behaved but boy was it difficult to get them to actually stop what they’re doing for 5 seconds and look at the camera!

And yet one of my favourite photos of the whole wedding is of one of the children not looking at the camera but interacting with family members and it’s a joyful moment.

A photo-journalistic style seems to work best

Using a photo-journalistic style at weddings works especially well where children are concerned.  They are usually engrossed in whatever it is that they are doing and an observant photographer can usually capture those moments, which makes the whole thing come to life.

For me as a photographer, it becomes a personal challenge to see if I can get a child to look at the camera for long enough to get a sharp image (with a high shutter speed), how can I interact with them, what grabs their attention.

The lure of candy can help but parents and carers may object to this if they don’t want their child having sugar (as well as the high that follows if they’re not used to sugar). So that is no longer a viable option!

Then there is the challenge of trying to stop them using smartphones to play games and look at the camera. If it fails, you take an image of them with the phone and it can make for some lovely images.

It is what you make it

Photographing children can be a difficult task but helping to set expectations prior to the event can help.  Children always add something to a wedding – a friend said the other day she can understand why some people don’t allow children at their weddings, partly because they can just relax and enjoy the day.  I found myself agreeing with her.  But on reflection, whilst writing this blog, I think having children at a wedding only adds to the excitement and joyfulness of the day.  They put things into perspective – they can be wowed by something that may seem trivial to an adult.  A magic trick, a candy cart – these are a BIG deal to the young ‘uns.

I do believe that if you’re a keen observer, you can capture some magical moments of children on wedding days.  And that’s what gives a wedding photographer an edge – they observe and capture which is what photo-journalism is all about.