Some couples make a very wise decision to not have children at all in their bridal party.
Others, however, are a bit braver and will go with having children in special roles in the wedding. This is usually because they have children that are very special to them that they would love to have involved on the big day.
But whether the children choose to cooperate on the big day is another story, and one particularly difficult situation can be the professional photos. The internet is littered with hilarious shots of children who preferred to go their own way when the formal photos were taken.
So, we’ve talked to our photographers and come up with some tips and tricks to get your children to take good photos on the wedding day.
Tip one from our wedding photographers is don’t have children in the bridal party. Professional photographers tend to have enough to manage with just the adults running around doing their own thing, let alone adding children to the mix!
But if that tip is not really helpful to you, here are a few more that might work:
Try to time it with their energy levels
With most children, it is best to get their shots done first before they lose interest and wander off. If you want group shots with them sitting still, try getting these done first before any shots that don’t require the children.
With some children, they are more energetic to start with and less likely to sit for photos, so you may need to let them run out of energy first. After they have run out their excess energy they may be more likely to sit still and cooperate.
Give them a special place to sit
If children have a special chair or place to sit they may be more likely to do it. Consider arranging for a sweet little child-sized chair for each of the children in your bridal party, with their name tagged on it. This could even be a lovely gift for them to keep after the wedding!
Give them something to interest them
You can either give them something to focus on in their hands (if you just want them to be still) or hold something behind the camera (if you want them to look up). A treasured toy will work, or perhaps bubbles or flower petals if you are trying to get some candid shots wedding themed shots.
Turn it into a game
Instead of just getting them to pose, get them to interact with the person behind the camera. Playing peek-a-boo is a great method for little ones. You can also play ‘Can you find?’ and try to get them to look for something red (in the area you want them to be looking).
Let them be a photographer
This works well if you have more than one child, as they can help you take photos of each other. One child poses while the other gets to help you position the shot and push the button (you get to push the button a few times too to make sure you get some good shots). Then the children swap. The promise of having a go at being photographer can make them behave through their own shots.
Either singing to them, asking them to sing to you or singing together is a great way to get happy photos of the child looking up to the camera. You could find out from their parents what their favourite song is, or sing something that requires a response from the child such as ‘Old MacDonald’ or the theme from Batman.
Another fantastic trick to get great photos of children in the wedding party is to tell them to do the opposite of what you want. Tell them to try their absolute best not to smile, not to look at the camera, or not to look at their parent behind you, and this inevitably seems to get the opposite effect.
Shift the focus to another child
If one child is being particularly difficult or uncooperative, a great trick can be to shift the focus to another child. Very often the difficult child is enjoying the attention on her. So, tell her you will give her a break, and then move onto the next child, very deliberately focussing on their shots instead. Often the difficult child will then come back and behave because they don’t like being ignored.
Give them what they need
If the children in the wedding party are not yours, having their parents on hand to help is really one of the best ways to get cooperation. If little ones are not participating it could be because they are tired, nervous, hungry, or any one of a hundred other things.
Having their parent there to give them a hug and reassurance can really help things to continue smoothly.
Keep parents chilled
It helps if you as the bridal couple as well as the photographer keep the parents chilled about it as well. Parents can stress in this situation if they think it is important and their child is causing trouble, which only serves to make things worse.
The kind approach tends to work better than just having the parent behind the photographer yelling or threatening which is not fun for anybody. Tell the parents from the beginning that it is to be something light and fun, and try to keep that vibe going throughout the photo session.
The age-old technique used by parents everywhere; bribe the children. Having some white chocolate sweets or mini marshmallows to hand out after they have finished their shots could be a lifesaver. Make sure you have checked with their parents that they have no allergies, however.
Let kids be kids
Embrace candid photography instead of posed shots. Your photographer will get some divine images of your children just being gorgeous children if they allow them to do their own thing and just shoot.
If it is very important to you that you get good photos of the children in the wedding, talk to your photographer beforehand. It may also be helpful to have an additional photographer who specialises in children.
If all else fails just be prepared to give up and let it go. Keeping this easy and fun will make for a much better day for everyone, so if children are really never going to behave, take a deep breathe and then move onto the next shot instead. The ability to go with the flow will be the greatest trick on your wedding day.