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Uncooperative Subjects


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#1 pegboyd

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 10:52 AM

I'm not the best photographer and would like to practice (as well as actually document my life!!) But my 12 (almost 13) year old daughter makes faces shakes her head or covers her face when I try to take pictures- It's driving me crazy! How do people get such natural unposed pictures that tell a story by looking at them, it's very discouraging.  What are some ideas on how to improve my picture taking skills and make the camera disappear so the cooperative people don't look like deer in headlights smiling and the uncooperative ones run?



#2 BethQuiroz

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 11:03 AM

I have a huge collection of bad pics of my kids. My daughter loves making strange faces when she sees the camera pointed at her and my son flips me the bird. I take all the pics & get them developed. My plan is to do layouts of the pics describing their attitudes & will hopefully embarrass the heck out of them. Karma is a b**ch! LOL


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#3 Tami

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 11:21 AM

One more reason I love iPhone photography! My kids are generally okay with having their pic taken, but it's pretty easy to pretend you're texting while actually taking a candid photo. ;)
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#4 Izzy

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 11:33 AM

My personal situation is different, because my whole family is accustomed to having cameras around. They don't give me a hard time about photos anymore.

 

In fact, a lot of the time, they don't even notice that I have a camera.

 

Here are a few things that I think might help:

 

* Keep at it. Your subjects will likely become more cooperative over time as they realize that you're serious about documenting your life.

 

* Show them the photos they look amazing in. Tell them how photogenic they are.

 

* (Related to the above) Don't publicly post photos where they just woke up/don't have makeup on/etc. If I want my subject to be okay with me shooting photos of them, they have to trust that I have their interest in mind too. :)

 

* Take photos without them knowing. Candid photos can be packed full of story.

 

* Take lots of photos. My experience is that I took a lot more photos when I first got started. Over time you can take less, but at the beginning, quantity really helps give you options.

 

* Don't ask someone to smile for a photo (and don't ask them to "Say Cheese").

 

* Get in the photo with them for a selfie. They might feel more comfortable if they aren't alone in the photo.

 

* Take their picture with someone else. Again they might feel more comfortable with another person.

 

* Take their picture with a pet. Same reason as above.

 

* Ask them to make a goofy face sometimes. If they have fun taking photos with you, they'll love it more. Also, it might get it out of their system.

 

* Keep shooting a bunch of photos. You can capture them making the face, then after they make the face, etc. "Burst Mode" is your friend. If you can hold down the shutter release and snap a bunch of photos one after the other, you increase your chances of getting a great shot.

 

* Take a photo of them doing something other than posing. For example, they might love you taking photos of them dancing, or playing tennis, or whatever it is they love to do (or are doing at the time). They'll be distracted and not thinking about the camera.

 

* Let them take revenge by shooting photos of you. :)

 

* Have low expectations. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Be patient and be "pleasantly surprised" when you get a great photo.

 

* Give the process time. As I mentioned before -- people can get comfortable with cameras over time. But initially it might be awkward and frustrating. The awkward period will likely pass.

 

Just a few ideas I hope might help.


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#5 pegboyd

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 11:44 AM

thank you all so much for the response and thank you for the tips Izzy, very helpful and I plan to try them! and by the way- thanks for all your hard work on getting a message board up! yay Izzy! and you made me laugh BethQuiroz!


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#6 Noell

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 12:06 PM

I love all the tips above. I did notice in the past year that I was capturing fewer pictures of my oldest and I was worried about why I would be neglecting to shoot him until he told me that with the changes that happen during puberty, he was self-conscious and was often purposely avoiding the camera. Almost all of the photos I take are candid, so he was just being subtle and leaving the scene quietly, I guess.

Another thing that can help is to look pull up your recent photos, call your child and say, "Hey, so-and-so, check out these photos!" Proceed to have a fun time laughing and enjoying them. We all look for ourselves in photos and she will notice she's not in many. You can then say in a very non-judgemental and non-pressureing way, "I didn't really get any of you this time. Bummer." Or something like that that is natural to you. This may not help if your daughter is relieved to see no pictures of her, but if she has traditionally liked seeing pictures of herself, she might respond the way mine did.


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#7 asuncionshija

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 02:08 PM

I've started really learning about photography in the last year (hubby bought me a fancy camera for my birthday last year).  One of the most helpful sites I've come across is called Click It Up A Notch - lots of helpful stuff there.  I'd recommed this article first! :)


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#8 Scrappy Angel

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 05:13 PM

I would echo the tip of taking a lot of pics or at least taking them OFTEN if not necessarily a lot. Your family will become used to the camera being around and maybe get more comfortable.

I also just have to say that I LOVE the idea of having a chance at getting advice and feedback from the Brangelina of scrap booking (I was listening to an old PRT). I kind of feel like we've been given access to celebrities! :-)
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#9 Carol

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 12:32 PM

Another thought would be to pull out some pictures of YOURSELF at their age and show/tell them different things you liked at that age...music,school subject,sports, style of clothes you wore....say something to the effect, I really am glad I have this pic because it reminds me of that period in my life.
If you DON'T have pics of yourself at their age talk about why you wish you did and how it's important that you want to help them preserve their Memories. If they are STILL reluctant see if you can take a pic of their feet, with their fave pair of shoes. document that. Get them to (for example... hold tickets to the concert they went to), and photograph their hands holding the item. Photograph their most fave food...nail polish collection...hair products, etc. Tell a story about them through that....and I totally agree with pretending to text and capture candid shots.
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#10 Erica Hettwer

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 02:30 PM

My husband used to be the worst about photos. He would give me a goofy face or just roll his eyes at me. Once I told him how important these photos were to me and showed him how he was not getting represented in our albums he has gotten a lot better. He will even take a pic or two to send me when he's out with the guys if I ask him. Especially if I mention that I'd like to have it for the Project Life album or that he's been missing from PL the last week or two. 

 

My 96 year old Granny hates having her pic taken as well. The one thing that has worked for me with her is to take a selfie with her or to take a pic of her with my kiddos. It's hard to say no to adorable great-grandkids! 


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#11 kerigmt

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 08:05 PM

Echoing the making everyone comfortable comments, keep the camera with you all the time if you can. The more they see you and the camera together the more at ease people are with you taking photos.  

 

Also, a telephoto or zoom lens will let you be physically further away from your subjects and allow them to continue to be in their own space without feeling like you or the camera are in their face.  

 

A trick I've tried when shooting group shots is to intentionally take a couple of goofy ones first.  It lets people relax a bit more.  Or do a count, Okay, on 3.  1, 2, 3. however, snap on 2 instead.   


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#12 BeckyP

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 11:08 PM

Love all the ideas shared here. I was just talking about this problem with my sister. She has a daughter that is almost 12 and she always makes a goofy face when her picture is taken. We have come to realize that these girls (mostly girls) are acting this way because they are self conscious, like Noelle commented. If they act goofy in their photo then it's on THeIR terms. It's ok to look goofy when you're trying, that way they don't look goofy in a photo when they were actually trying to look good.
It hit me that my daughter used to do the same thing!!! She's now 16 and now always gives me the cutest smile when I take photos of her. So part of it is making them relaxed or getting candid photos but part of it is also their self image
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#13 MiaScraps

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 12:15 AM

I often take photos of my girl when she is doing something as opposed to a full on face view. So I have lots of side or rear shots. She's had moments where she doesn't want her photo taken for personal reasons and I try to respect that. She talks a lot about "remember when we did..." Or remember when we went....." So in her view she often wants to see photos of the what, where, who, why and how. She's looking for the memories. I tend to get quite a few other photos like others suggested....in groups, with a pet, or when her mood strikes. I jump on those opportunities. Lots of great suggestions here!
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#14 janygb143

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 10:27 AM

I like the suggestion of taking a picture with someone else to make them more comfortable, and it also works with some*thing*. Have them hold up a favorite object (like a cold drink at the end of the day!), something they love or enjoy. Then just crop out the item if you want a good shot of only their face :)
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#15 BrinkleyMiles

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 07:20 PM

What kind of camera are you using when you're trying to photograph your kids?  One thing I've observed a lot with everyone using phones as cameras is that it's much harder to be subtle about taking a candid photograph.  With a phone, you usually have to be pretty close to your subject to capture them.  It might be helpful to utilize something with a zoom lens to "sneak" candid photos.  Even smaller point and shoot cameras have a digital zoom so you can zoom-in from across the room or backyard so you can capture something without having to be within arms reach of the person.  I love being in groups or at events and being across the room and capturing someone doing something without them even knowing it.  (Not in the creeper way, of course.)


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#16 KimP

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 10:52 PM

I would suggest trying to photograph your kids with their friends, let them be goofy

or whatever they want. It might be just more fun that way for them. My youngest

son hated getting his pic taken, one day he asked why he wasn't in my scrapbooks

as much as his brother and I had to tell him, I didn't have as many photos of him.

That changed is attitude about photos and now he asks me to take them all the

time. Just my 2cents!


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#17 Noell

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 03:39 PM

Last month I shot tons of photos of two different large groups of kids and teens -- not my own kids, who are used to cameras around them, but other people's children who are not around big cameras so much. And I found that shooting them was no different than shooting my own kids. I don't do anything to draw attention to myself. I don't usually ask them to look at me or anything.

Here's what I do:

I stand back and look at what's going on: What are people doing and how are they acting? What about this reflects who they are at this stage in their lives? How are multiple people interacting with each other? What is their body posture like?

 

Then, while still standing back I shoot to capture those things without putting myself into their space.

Since I'm not there, I have no idea if you're crossing into your daughter's space or making yourself unnecessarily known. It's a possibility. The next time you get the urge to shoot some photos, ask yourself whether there is anyway to be less intrusive. I don't mean you should hide. Just keep yourself outside of the space.

 

Also, note that in my situations with other kids + teens who are not used to having a big camera around them, there were lots of people and lots going on. That's an easier situation in which the subjects can ignore the camera, then if your daughter is by herself.


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#18 wendyzine

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 05:41 PM

Katrina Kennedy touched on this a little bit in a recent podcast. She suggested 1) Paying a modeling fee for special photo shoots to your kids. They are more willing when they have something tangible for it. 2) Use inanimate objects (like LEGO or dolls) to practice on.


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