Monday, January 12, 2015

Capture That: Siblings! {Photography Workshops For Beginners | Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC}

It's been quite some time, but in the last post we covered how to convince your younger "big brother or sister" to cooperate in a photo with a new baby...but what about those sibling pairs that are a little older, love to push each others buttons (and know exactly how to of course), and don't want anything to do with sitting with their brother or sister for a picture?  This can be an extra challenge especially if these siblings are YOUR children, but tough either way!

Here are some tried and true tricks for keeping the pressure off, because ultimately with kids of any age... keeping it fun is going to give you the best results.

LAUGH! This may sound silly, but sometimes when I am getting the fakest of grins from my two, who are pretty much experts at all of my tricks, I just tell them to look at each other and laugh. This often causes real giggles even if I just tell them to look at each other and if they are totally just faking it for my benefit, still looks better than "CHEESE!" ;) 

Games! For the energy filled ages of pretty much 2 and up, Red Light Green Light or just racing, rarely fails! Simon Says often takes their mind off of the camera and their sibling being closer than they wanted to allow, and although the pictures of them touching their toes or their noses may not be the framers, the smiles in between will be! You may be able to pull off a "Simon Say Hug Your Sister" even.   Other "games" to try: Patty Cake, whisper something to each other and I have to guess what they said, tell them to imagine they are a super hero or an animal, I Spy (to keep them sitting in one place for a few seconds at least), Ring Around the Rosie, and make faces at each other are just a few. Remember the key here is the in between moments. The games are fun, but it's the connection they create that you want to capture most. They usually will glance up for big smiles at the camera without you even asking for them too!


Ask questions  This is advice I often give for one child, but works with two or more as well. Ask them about each other. "What is your sister's favorite color?" and topics like that which will get them communicating too! 

Let the oldest be the special helper or let the little one come to them. This really depends on how independent the youngest sibling is. Sometimes they want the assistance and sometimes they want to be set free and  show they can do things too. Depending on the dynamic, you decide, but if the oldest helping is causing more angst, then just give the older child something to do or a toy to play with that might make the little one curious and want to approach on their own. 
Hide the parents. This is necessary sometimes, especially if they are battling for attention, sometimes I have to ask parents to step away for a few minutes. If I AM the parent though, obviously this won't work, BUT handing mine a remote or letting them push the timer button often does, so at least they are in charge!  
Reverse Psychology.."Whatever you do don't hug your sister!"
Creating fun activities:  People often comment that they love how I capture my own children. 9 times out of 10 this is because they are having fun already and I just happen to pull out my camera. So, to accomplish this at a time I feel like taking pictures, I just have to give them something fun to do...dress up, paint, bake something together, game playing, bubbles, kites, balls, you name it. All of a sudden being a photographer's kid isn't so bad and these are all things you can do at a session too if the parents are up for some fun in between the posed pictures. They tend to be the favorites as well!  

      There are endless strategies for working with siblings, and hopefully these listed will help you a bit. With my own, I tend to wait for moments that are authentic and capture those when I can, or when they are being sweet with each other, I take a few minutes to get the camera out and test how willing they are to "pose" for me. But of course when you are trying to capture joyful moments in a certain time period for a client, you do have to be prepared to help create those moments too. You may be surprised by how many siblings actually do prefer to share the spotlight though, so as mentioned, keep it pressure-free. Don't start bribing and acting crazy unless totally necessary (and yes, sometimes this may be necessary). But if you are ready to have fun, they usually will be too and will quickly turn from rivalry to "partners in crime!"

We would love to see photos of siblings that you were able to capture too! Please post them on our Facebook page HERE

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Lisa Rappa Photography


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