It’s been a tradition that began over eight years ago when the first two grandchildren were born, and has continued on each year, as a new grandchild has been added to the fold. Sometime in December, we get all the grandchildren together to take an annual photo, and give a framed picture to our parents. It’s a gift they’ve come to expect and love, and even though we were all extremely busy, we got together last night to take a few very informal shots with the newest addition to the clan, our baby Hayden. Turns out we didn’t get one “great!” photo out of the hundred that we took, but we sure captured their personalities! Here are a few tips to help you capture some great, and even not-so-great pictures when there’s a lot of kids involved!
The Perfect Shot
Let’s begin with an example of the most “perfect” child shot you can ever get. This was from last year’s shoot, taken professionally by M. Shanti Photo. We had planned out these photos for over a month, had coordinated outfits, gave each child plenty of time to prepare for the shoot; explaining they need to smile, it was a gift for Grandma & Grandpa, etc. We met at a wide-open park so the kids could run around a bit, and a professional was taking the photos, and we all know that kids listen to other adults better than their own parents! We ended up with a very frame-worthy photo indeed!
The Personality Shot
Here’s another great photo from last year’s shoot that we framed and gave as well. We thought it was not only beautiful in composition and color, but it also gave a very fun glimpse into each child’s personality a bit, and showed a very “real” side to them. It wasn’t necessarily “perfect”, but it was cute and fun.
The Beginning Of the End
Here are a few shots from yesterday’s shoot, along with some ways we went wrong and tips to help you avoid our mistakes! First, don’t leave the kids unsupervised before the photo shoot. Why? Well because one of them will end up getting hurt or in a fight with another cousin, and end up in tears right before picture time. Case in point: my eldest son sobbing as he holds my younger son.
Get Their Sillies Out
If things are going downhill a bit, give them the opportunity to get their sillies out and snap a few of them acting like utter goofballs. It may not always work but it’s worth a shot. But just take a few silly shots and then rein them back in before they get out of hand.
Timing Is Everything
When babies are involved it’s always tricky to time photo shoots accordingly so that you can capture baby at his/her happiest, but close to nap or feeding time is never a good time to try and take pictures. Here we see the meltdown of my baby starting, so we had to quickly try to get a few more decent shots in before screaming erupted.
Oops, we just weren’t quick enough! Here we are witnessing full baby meltdown. If anything, it is good for a few fun shots to show how the older kids react to the screaming baby. Obviously my daughter isn’t fazed a bit.
Settling For Good
All things considered, this is actually a fairly good shot. All the kids are looking in one direction, all but one is smiling and all eyes are open. My son still looks a bit wounded but nothing a little Photoshopping can’t fix in post-editing. But even if you’re not a PS whiz, rest assured that this is a good shot of 10 kids, and a great shot to give to the grandparents. They won’t care that it isn’t perfect, they’ll just be happy with the thoughtful gift.
This May Work Better!
Actually, I think this may be the perfect shot to give after all. The perfect mix of smiles and silliness, the best thing is all the kids look happy. We’ll print up an 8×10 at the local 1 hour photo place, put it in a frame, and we’ll have a memorable and meaningful grandparents gift that didn’t cost a fortune and will be loved and treasured for years to come!