Who says never work with animals and chlidren?

I recently completed a lovely piece of work photographing and filming three lovely children for a company that makes a learning resource product that is great for young children as well as older children and adults with autism.
The kids were fantastic but it is not always easy filming children.  Here are my top 5 tips that will help when filming children:


Children, especially younger ones, have short attention spans so make sure your filming is planned out and you can film in short segments to be edited together later.



It is always a good idea to have a supply of toys, a separate room with a television (or bring an iPad or game console for older children) to distract and entertain them when things seem to be going off course.  Once they seem ready to continue, do so.  When filming make it like a game so the children are having fun.  To get the best images on screen it is better to have exaggerated emotions – so let hilarity reign (unless of course you are filming a serious piece).  It is essential when filming babies to have a favourite soft toy or rattle held aloft if you want them looking or reaching in a certain direction.




Make sure your children are fed, watered, have been to the toilet and are as comfortable as possible.  When they are feeling good they are more likely to do what you want!  Always have drinks and snacks available too.




Some may not agree with this point and that’s OK.  However, personally I’m a big fan of bribery when the circumstances call for it.  If you have a child that responds well to the promise of a ‘treat’ for good behaviour – go for it!  Obviously the parents will know their children best so be guided by them as to how to get the best from their children.




Although my children were wonderful, filming children can be a challenge.  However it is essential that you realise it will take time and they will only do what you want them to in short bursts so to get the quality footage you need you should plan for a longer filming job than would be needed for an adult who is (hopefully) better at taking direction.  Also expect that there might, for whatever reason, be melt-downs from the child and it can take a while before calm is installed.  Losing your temper and getting stressed because the shoot is taking much longer than you thought doesn’t help anyone and will leave you with a less-than-desirable reputation in the eyes of the parents and your client.
Keep all these things in mind and you should have a fun, stress-free shoot just like mine!