Headshots for Kids
There are a few things to know about headshots for kids. Kids headshots need to happen every six months. That is costly. A lot of photographers have a lower rate for kids because of this. It is not that it is less work. It is that you will require shots more often. Some photographers, like me, give a discount for coming back within six months so that it is more cost effective for you. That is my personal policy, but I know a few other photographers that do the same.
Many times parents just getting started will try to take their pictures and turn them into headshots. 99% of the time the shots are not what is needed and wanted by casting directors, managers and agents. It is better to bite the bullet and hire a pro. Your child will get more open doors and more work because of it.
Any time you are scheduling a photo shoot with a kid you need to make sure that it is within the hours of your kids most alert and bright time by nature. If your kid putters out by 3pm then you need to do make sure that your shoot is well before that. If your child takes naps at 11:30am then do not schedule a photo shoot at 11am.
One of the most important things is NO SUGAR BEFORE A PHOTOSHOOT. Sugar is like crack for a kid. They are more easily distracted and harder to keep focused when they have had sugar. Good breakfasts of eggs and fruit, maybe oatmeal or something like that will make your photo shoot go so much smoother. No sugar filled cereals or pastries! Also, no foods or drinks with Blue 1 food coloring within 24 hours. That creates mood swings in kids. I know this sounds a bit hippie, but trust me, there is something to it because I see the difference in my photo shoots very dramatically.
With a child you do not have as much worry about casting as you do with adults. You want to get good crisp images of your child. Smiles and warmth are expected. Also having shots of your kid with a more serious look, but not too serious. Add a few images that are a little different if you are planning to go after a lot of print work too. The kid jumping or on the swings is a great add to a Zed card.
You want to make sure not to have any graphics on shirts like Dora the explorer or Bob the Builder. Kids should wear clothing that does not push any products or cartoon characters. Simple clean cut looks and clothing.
Acting and modeling are not the same as pageants, so you need to make sure that you don't get too cute and frilly. Big poofy dresses and skirts are a not good. Sunday dresses are too much. Boys should not be in three piece suits and mini tuxes for their shots. Not unless you have a manager or agent that is specifically requesting it for a certain mood or look.
If you see your kid puttering out, take a break for water and snacks. Any photographer who has shot kids will know that this will make for better results and they should be patient.
It's important as well to hire a photographer who actually likes kids. Most that don't will say they don't work with kids. Move to the next on your list rather than trying to talk them into it. You will need someone who can communicate well with kids and direct them too.
Kids are by nature cute. But if you do the simple things like good sleep the night before, no sugar, and plenty of snacks with a pro who gets along well with kids you will be able to have a really great set of images that will help your child.