All parents want some decent professional quality photos of their kids and if you want to capitalise on this and make some money children’s portrait photography services is something you have to offer. If you don’t offer children’s portrait photography services I have to ask the question “why the hell not?” since it is lucrative and there is a lot of money to be made.
It was my sister that suggested I offered children’s portrait photography services, and had it not been for her I doubt I would have ever thought of it. My sister was a single mother for several years and, like many single parents out there, really struggled to make ends meet. Like all parents, my sister wanted some decent shots of her son however the local professional photographers wanted an absolute fortune and my sister simply couldn’t afford it. My sister had many friends in exactly the same position she was in and also couldn’t afford the local professional photographers’ ridiculous charges for portrait shots of their kids.
Many professional photographers punch above their weight and think they are better than they actually are, and consequently charge too much money for what they do. I knew that I could provide the same sort of photographs for a fraction of what the local professional photographers were charging and still make a good profit. By being realistic with what the single parents could afford and hence my pricing I decided to offer children’s portrait photography services. With the pricing structure I was going to use I knew that I wouldn’t make a super profit but I would make a very good profit, and that’s what matters right?
Before venturing in to the world of children’s portrait photography (I was a late starter and there were a few things holding me back – which is another story altogether) I had been taking adult portraits for several years. I considered myself a competent portrait photographer, as did my clients (well, I guess they did as I never had any complaints and I received several recommendations) and knew exactly what to do to get decent photos.
Taking portrait photos of children should be no different to taking portraits of adults should it? Posing a child should be the same as posing an adult. Lighting a child should be the same as lighting an adult, and the camera settings for photographing children should be the same as the camera settings for photographing adults. In theory children’s portrait photography should be the same as adult portrait photography, but this is not the case in reality. Oh no, taking decent photos of children is totally different.
The first thing to remember when doing children’s portrait photography services is that the child(ren) having their photo taken doesn’t necessarily want to be there. Ultimately, it is the parent making the child9ren) pose for the camera, and whilst some kids enjoy and embrace it, several kids do not and they make the task of photographing them very challenging.
Whilst providing children’s portrait photography services I have come across children refusing to sit still, refusing to look at the camera, refusing to pose and refusing to do anything I (and their parent/s) tell them. In order to get badly behaved kids to sit for the camera I will try and grab their attention (talking to them, telling them jokes, waving things at them etc.) and go for a more candid shot. If this method doesn’t work the only option I have is bribery and will give them a treat when I get the shot I am after. There was a time when the only treats I used were sweets and fun size chocolate bars however times have changed somewhat. Many parents don’t allow food treats and in these instances I use stickers and badges.
If the bribing the children doesn’t work there is little more I can do, and the parent will have to step in and sort it out or I end the shoot and work with what I have, if I have anything at all of course. Whenever I take on a children’s portrait photography shoot I demand an initial fee that is non-refundable designed to cover my costs should I have to abort the shoot.
Children’s portrait photography requires a lot of patience which is hard to deal with, especially if you are like me and don’t have to deal with disobedient and unruly kids on a daily basis. Being patient, and having the ability to deal with troublesome kids is by far the hardest part of this type of portrait photography and if you nail this everything else will simply fall in to place.
If you don’t have the patience of a saint you are not going to succeed offering children’s portrait photography services. It doesn’t matter how good your portrait shots are (and you could be the best portrait photographer ever) if you don’t have the patience and personality to deal with kids this type of photography is not for you.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.