Children Photography is one of the most interesting subjects because it is both fun and challenging. Most parents agree that when kids are happy and smiley, it is fun to get them to do anything including photo shoots with them. However, they have their moments too, which makes it challenging to engage them in a photo shoot. After learning more about children’s behaviour for the past 12 years, I have learnt how to manage them properly to entice them to smile naturally and be happy during their photoshoot.
Let me share with you my tips and tricks on how I do the shoot that allows the child to respond well especially at an outdoor location.
So let’s talk about the top 3 pro-tips:
In a tropical weather like Singapore, there are only two best times to head outdoors - early in the morning around 8am or late in the afternoon around 5:30pm. However, we also need to work with your child’s sleeping time. Choose a time that works the best for them. If they usually wake up late but are happy to run around in the early evening, a late afternoon shoot might be more suitable for them. Those who wake up bright and early at 6am, well, early morning works the best for them. We certainly want to photograph them at their best times. As a general guide, children under 3 years of age tend to be happiest in the morning when they slept well and had their breakfast, while older kids are still fine later in the afternoon.
What happens if early mornings and late afternoons are not the best of times, and you have to settle for a timing between 9am - 4pm? Well, at Gardens by the Bay, you are in luck! You can go straight to either the Flower Dome or Cloud Forest and have your photos taken there. The two domes are air-conditioned,so the environment is cooling and kids can run around without you worrying that they will become too sweaty. Personally, I prefer Flower Dome due to the relatively open space as compared to the Cloud Forest.
I’m often asked about the best outdoor location at Gardens by the Bay for photographing children and family. Well, the answer really depends on what you would like the final pictures to look like.
Wherever you prefer to go, my advice is, it has to be easily accessible and not too far to walk to (a maximum of 5-10 minutes of walking). As parents, we understand that kids don’t have much patience, so your kids should still be in a good mood and smiling at the end of a short walk, so any location within 5-10 minutes’ walk would be the best location for their photoshoot. At Gardens by the Bay, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to locations and backdrops for photo taking. There are plenty of green area, area where World of Plants are, is where I love to bring the family to capture their family shots, Another location is the open space at the Supertree Grove area, which gives a unique perspective of the gigantic Supertrees, akin to scenes from the movie Avatar. A third popular place that I’ll recommend families to have their photos taken would be at the walkway along Dragonfly Lake, however, Water Lily Pond near the Kingfisher Lake where the Supertrees as well asthe Marina Bay Sandsform the backdrop of your photo. These are my top locations that are within 5-10 minutes’ walk in Gardens by the Bay that I would bring my clients to.
Of course, from far, Gardens by the Bay looks equally stunning. So another great spot to go to is Gardens by the Bay East, which is on the other side of the Marina Reservoir at Tanjong Rhu area, next to the Marina Golf Course. If you want to get some inspiration and wondering what kind of photos you can get from the above locations, you can take a look at the gallery https://tomato.sg/photo-shoot-gallery/
Now that you have your timing and location locked in, the most fun part is just to have fun!!!
Children love to play, they love to run around, they rarely like to stay still for the camera, so make sure your camera is always ready!
I would recommend bringing a portable tripod that you can mount your phone on during photo taking and to include the surroundings in your photos so you know that the shots are taken at the Gardens. I always love to incorporate enough surroundings to show the viewer where the images are taken, while focusing on the family that I am shooting at the same time.
Prior to the photoshoot, the only thing you need you to tell your children is that they are going to play at the location of the photoshoot, and get them excited about the PLAYING bits.
As parents, we want to see a happy child. So what is a good way to enjoy and have fun while shooting them? Keep the shoot relaxed and work in small intervals of 2-3 minutes, alternating with 2-3 minutes of play until the shoot is completed. This way, you get the photos of your family while still having fun with your children.
With family shoots, it is not just the pictures, but the entire experience of the photoshoot matters too. This is because you will naturally look great when you enjoy the whole experience. In years to come, when you look at the photos, you will remember memories of the time you and your family had spent together.
Your phone is probably good enough technically to capture all the best images you could enjoy with your family. For those who like to have 100% fun and want to leave the work to us, good news! In collaboration with Gardens by the Bay, we are giving away two photography sessions (worth $450 each). Check out Gardens by the Bay website for details.