Children at weddings are great. With their super cute mini suits and princess dresses, they are seriously adorable, and whilst they’re all dressed up, it’s an excellent opportunity for some photos for the wall at home.
Getting a decent photo of your children can be difficult no matter how old they are, though it’s probably a bit simpler to snap a shot when they’re infants and can’t move. Advances in camera technology have increased the quality of at-home photoshoots; taking frame-worthy photos from your iPhone has never been easier. Things such as self-timers and cameras that work underwater are game-changers for family photos. But even with all of these developments, it can still feel like you have to take a hundred pictures before you can get one where your kid is looking at the camera, and that just gets more difficult when you add more kids to the mix. Looking for the best Wedding Photographer in Melbourne? Check out our ultimate list here.
This post will help you feel more comfortable and confident when you pose and photograph kids.
How to Photograph Kids at a Wedding
Flower girls and ring bearers are two of the cutest parts of any wedding day, but depending on their age (and whether or not they’ve had a nap and a snack), getting them to stand still and smile for a picture — even for just a few — can be challenging. So it’s really important to remember a few things when you photograph kids.
Give Yourself a Long Window of Time
When we send our bride and groom their custom wedding day timeline, we ask them to have the kids there during the bridal party portrait time. That way, we have a large window of time to sneak them in for a few minutes of pictures whenever their mood is the best. In our experience, if we allocate a specific five-minute time slot for the flower girl and ring bearer photos, and one or both (but let’s be real, it’s usually the boys who want to climb trees!) decide to have a meltdown at that exact moment, we risk: wasting valuable time, and not getting the shot.
So, by having them there during a longer window of time, we give ourselves the best chance of catching them during a good moment.
Bring a Kid Wrangler
Frequently (not always) when we photograph kids on wedding days, the ring bearer and flower girl’s parents are in the bridal party, which can be distracting and disruptive to the bridal party photos if Mom and Dad are wrangling their little one when it’s their turn to be in a picture. So, we recommend having someone nearby and on standby to help be the official “Kid Wrangler” during bridal party photos and family portraits (which we do back-to-back) just to make sure things run smoothly, Mom and Dad can concentrate on smiling for pictures, and the ring bearer and flower girl can be little kids until it’s their turn. Grandma and Grandpa are perfect for this!
Get Down on Their Level
Little kids spend most of their time staring at people’s knees and looking up their nose. How comfortable would you feel around someone if that was you? So when we photograph kids for the first time, as soon as Mom or Dad introduces us to the kids, we stop what we’re doing, kneel down to their level to introduce ourselves, so they can see our face and look into our eyes — because research tells us that non-verbally, trust is (partially) transferred through the eyes.
Smile (with Your Eyes, Too)
Trust isn’t only transferred through the eyes. It’s communicated through our smile, too. In our early childhood education classes, we learned that kids trust adults based on the way our faces look, for real. Now, that doesn’t mean that if you hold a baby and it cries that you have an ugly face. What it does mean, though, is that smiling matters because it’s the first signal to a child that you’re a “safe” adult.
Interestingly, smiling with our eyes matters just as much (if not more) than smiling with our mouths because our brains use someone’s eyes, more than any other feature on their face, to determine whether or not they’re safe. How do you do that? Make them as big and wide as our smile, like a Disney princess.
Use Their Name Right Away
Depending on the age, the kids you’re working with may not know a lot (or they may be too nervous to say much), but if there’s one universal truth we know about almost all kids, it’s this: They’re never too shy to tell you their name and age, or too shy to correct you when you call them by the wrong name or age. Be careful with pronunciations, too. Those little fact-checkers will bust you every time!
Plus, isn’t it nice when someone says our name right as adults? When they say it wrong, even if it’s close, it just feels like, Okay, buddy, you really don’t know me. In the best-selling book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie says that a person’s name is the sweetest sound in any language to them. This is especially true with kids.
When they hit preschool/kindergarten age, sometimes purposefully calling them the wrong name can get some giggles! If your five-year-old subject’s name is Luke, and instead you call him Frank, he might just think it’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened.
Sound Happy and Excited Like a Disney Princess
The second we kneel, as we’re smiling with our eyes and mouth, we take a big exciting breath of air and exclaim, “Hi Madison! How are you, sweetheart?!” or “Hey, Jackson! Nice to meet you, buddy!” As adults, we instinctively talk to babies with a “baby voice.” It’s what comes naturally to us, but there’s scientific research to back this up. A happy, excited higher-pitched tone of voice communicates not only that we’re safe but also helps us get more smiles from our subjects!
Introduce Yourself & What You Do
As adults, we have enough “schema” or life experiences to use context clues to figure out who people are without asking or being told. For example, most adults have been to a wedding, know what an expensive camera looks like and understand that brides and grooms hire a photographer to take pictures all day. So, when an adult sees us holding big fancy cameras at a wedding, they don’t even have to think about it. Their brain automatically connects all those dots. For many kids, it’s not the same. They might not even know what a wedding is, much less anything else that happens at one, and, even if their parents tried to prepare them ahead of time, it can still be overwhelming and overstimulating for them since there’s so much going on. Thus, our job is to break down any trust barriers by doing what a good doctor has: bedside manner.
First, we tell them our name. Second, we tell them who we are and how we know their parents (or the bride and groom). Third, we prep them for what’s going to happen. And, fourth, we ask them to do something for us. We also throw in a little colour along the way. We might ask them something about them, like their age. If it’s a girl, we’ll compliment her pretty dress. If it’s a boy, we’ll let him touch the camera. It goes something like this… “Hi Madison! I’m Amy! I’m the photographer for the wedding today. That means I’m taking pictures for Megan and James, including yours. You look so pretty today! I just love your dress! We’re going to take your picture with the pretty bride, Megan, now! Will you come with me?!”
The same thing is true for a portrait session. Even though their parents probably already told them what they would be doing, we tell them again! “Hi, Jackson! I’m Jordan! I’m going to be taking some pictures for your family today! Do you want to take a look at my camera? I bet you can give THE BEST smiles!” Check out our extensive list of Wedding Photographers in Melbourne to help capture your special moments.
If You Have a Choice, Have a Female Shooter Do All of the Above
In general, like dogs, little kids just trust women more than men. Guys, it’s not your fault. It’s just the way it is. They trust Amy more than Jordan. Because of that, at almost every wedding (or whenever we photograph kids, really), we have Amy interacting directly with the flower girl and ring bearer. If you have a female shooter on your team, we recommend you do the same. If you’re a man and don’t have a female shooter with you, be the best Disney princess you can be.
Get the Most Important Shots First
There are five flower girl and ring bearer shots that we think are more important than getting them in the big bridal party shots. Mostly because they’re smaller groupings and closer up, which means we get to see more of them, versus when they’re one of twenty people in a large group shot but half the size of everyone else. So, in other words, it’s really hard to see. Thus, when we photograph kids at weddings, we do these shots first before adding them in with all the bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Affirm Their Efforts
Kids and adults alike thrive on praise, and you can easily make use of that human phenomenon in a photoshoot with a little one. Say something like, ‘Can you give Mommy the biggest hug ever?’ After they go over and hug her, enthusiastically praise them right away. Nine times out of 10, the praise will make them look over at you. You can apply this to your shoots by having them hug their siblings or even praise them for posing.
Use Their Toys
Although you might think of toys as a source of distraction for your kiddo, they can help you get the shot you want. For instance, you could tell kids that their stuffed animals or action figures want to be the photographer, and then bring the toy behind the camera and use a character voice to help create the illusion the toy is in charge. Turning a photoshoot into an opportunity for play makes a lot more sense than attempting to get a kid to pause their instincts.
Toys aren’t the only thing you can bring to the shoot to keep kids engaged. Having props on hand will ensure that there are options for entertaining the child. It’s even better if said props are based on the child’s actual interests, as familiar objects will make them feel more comfortable. Kids are familiar with and typically love animals, balloons, confetti, and cars, so you can go wrong if you stick to those themes.
Give Them a Job
Anything you can do to make children feel like they are an active part of a project is a good movie, and giving them a job is the best way to go about involving them. That makes them feel important, and they are more willing to cooperate, as they feel like their presence matters. Whether you have them hold a sign, say “1, 2, 3, cheese,” or take a picture themselves, any kid will feel more invested in the shoot as a whole after you give them a role.
How to Get Great Photos of Kids at Your Wedding
It’s no secret that your smallest wedding guests often do unpredictable things (not to mention adorable!) things, so you’ll want to capture their sweet ceremony and reception antics. We’re sure you’ll be happy to share the spotlight, at least for a moment, with a spunky flower girl or shy ring bearer.
So what makes for a great photo of these pint-sized guests? First and foremost, the less staged they are, the better. From photos of flower girl watching the bride get ready and the ring, the bearer is starting to make his way down the aisle to your young attendants twirling on the dance floor and cuddling up with a blanket as the night winds down, these candid shots of little ones will help to remember the vibe of the big day. Letting your flower girl and ring bearer walk in together? These cute pairs are seen here making their trip down the aisle fun and festive – a perfect opportunity for photos!
Capture the Moment
Since you will likely miss your flower girl’s walk down the aisle, remind your photographer how important it is to you to capture this moment. Your guests will probably snap pictures of the girls from the front, but this unique vantage point makes for a memorable shot.
Little girls will love to play with their big, fluffy dress. Capture shots of the flower girl playing with her skirt, twirling, and showing off her fancy footwear—bonus points for photographers who capture her doing so alongside the bride.
Find Sweet Moments
Don’t miss the opportunity to get photographs of any future love connections. This super-sweet photo of the ring bearer and flower girl stealing a kiss is wedding photography gold.
Catch Silly Moments
This is a moment you would miss without a great photographer on hand to document it! Your attendants will likely do silly, sweet, and funny things on their walk down the aisle, just like this shy ring bearer who hid from guests before getting to the altar.
An (adorable) overload of tulle! These flower girls are the best of friends as they turn their congratulatory hug into a photo-op.
Capitalize on Cuteness
Capturing photos of your ring bearer in their formal wedding wear is a must, but it’s especially important if the outfit is this cute. This little guy doesn’t seem thrilled about his plaid kilt, but it’s a photo the bride and groom will love for years to come!
Get Their Grand Entrance
No matter how your flower girl makes her way down the aisle, you’ll want to have photos of her grand entrance. If you’ve created a fun banner or sign, remind your photographer about it so they can be in place to shoot it.
Get the Giggles
Most brides will want a well-behaved flower girl at their ceremony, but when she breaks out into a fit of giggles, you’ll love that your photographer captured these silly moments.
Your photographer will want to photography your wedding stationery, including your ceremony programs and any little extras you’ve created like this cute “Hooray!” flag for guests to wave. Ask your ring bearer to show them off for a fun way to capture these important details.
Display the Rings
You’ll want a memorable shot of your flower girl cradling your wedding band before she walks down the aisle. This ethereal little one slips the ring into an owl mug for safekeeping.
Work With Whimsy
Some of the funniest wedding moments involve kids. This little guy left the ring box behind as he took off down the aisle!
Capture from Afar
Just like you and your groom will want a little alone time, so will your flower girl and ring bearer. These two snuck off for some kid time, and the photographer captured a lovely photo from afar.
Prepare for the Spontaneous
Some of the sweetest moments happen in the blink of an eye. This adorable flower girl curled up behind the bride’s veil after seeing her all dressed up for the very first time.
Capture Their Personalities
They may have big jobs, but they are kids after all! This adorable photo of a ring bearer cuddling his stuffed bear is too cute for words.
Work With Wonder
These little flower girls peek through the window for a glimpse of the bride all dressed up. If they’re getting ready separately from you, a “first look” with your little attendants will make for fun photos.
Find New Friendships
Whether they’re brother and sister, two young cousins, or strangers, your flower girl and ring bearer will like to form a bond over their important role in the ceremony. So when the cute pair spends the rest of the evening playing at the reception, you’ll want to make sure your photographer is on hand to capture it all!
Snap Quiet Moments
In the moments before your ceremony, you’ll likely have alone time with your flower girls. This photographer captured a gorgeous shot of the bride swooping in for a last-minute good-luck kiss.
Include All Angles
These two flower girls are picture-perfect for their walk down the colourful aisle. You’ll have formal portraits to showcase the front of their outfits, but a shot from behind as they make their way to the groom is one to remember.
Play With Props
The kids at the wedding will likely manage to get into everything. Case in point: This couple offered parasols to keep guests cool during the ceremony, but this little flower girl took off with one for the reception, too.
Look Out for Helpers
This young flower girl is a natural! When your adorable attendant steps in to keep your veil off the floor, you’ll want your photographer ready to snap a photo of it.
Highlight All the Emotions
Whether he’s bashful about the first kiss or keeps catching sight of a favourite family member in the crowd, this little ring bearer can hardly keep a straight face through the ceremony.
Showcase the Silly
Capturing silly, candid moments of kids is an absolute must. These two flower girls cuddled up under a blanket while they waited for the big day to kick off.
See All the Signs
There’s bound to be one attention seeker in the group of your young attendants. You’ll want photos of all his funny antics, like this young man who holds his flag right in front of his companion’s face!
Capture Tender Moments
Your attendant’s interactions make for such sweet memories. These two flower girls hug during cocktail hour!
Whether he’s your son, nephew, or best friend’s little one, you’ll want memories of your ring bearer getting all dressed up for his walk down the aisle.
Include the Pets
Including pets in your wedding is a great way to personalize the event. Of course, you’ll need someone to guide your four-legged friend, and a little flower girl is a perfect person!
Get the Shot While You Can!
Not all kids will want to hang out at your reception all night. This flower girl snuck out for some fun of her own.
So, to get the best results, speak to your wedding photographer before the wedding and find out their approach to this. We recommend you bring your child to the pre-wedding shoot & on the wedding day to integrate lots of attention and play into the group photos. Relax and enjoy the drinks reception as that’s a great opportunity for natural photos. Here at Boutique Events Group, we have compiled an exclusive list of Melbourne Wedding Photographers to help capture your special day.