I still remember when I was a flower girl for my cousins wedding. I was all dressed in white (like a mini bride) scratching at my legs because the tool under the dress was itching me like crazy. All I wanted to do was eat a slice of the large, white, mouth watering wedding cake that was waiting for me (or I thought it was for me) in the reception room. I wanted nothing to do with photos and I was begging my parents to let me put my flowered shorts and pink t-shirt back on.
The struggle to be a flower girl is real… and I can totally relate to the flower girl or ring bearer who is stilling in the corner with their arms crossed and pouting in the corner. I was there years ago. Experiences are priceless and thanks to that experience I have learned to creatively capture beautiful photos of these little ones.
Here’s how we do it!
1. Brandon and I introduce ourselves with big smiles and a happy yet calm voice.
Little ones are curious. They want to know who we are, what the big black object in our hands is, why we are taking their photo and what we want them to do. We have found that the more information we can give them about us, the more comfortable they are + the more fun they will have in-front of our lens (so we can get big smiles).
2. We ask them who they are and use their names.
Children love to feel included and a part of what is going on. When the hear their name said with excitement and joy they too get excited and happy. They also love to share about who they are, maybe its that they love spiderman or barbie or they have a tiny go cart at home. What ever it is they always have something to share. Them sharing + us listening makes them feel valued, once they feel valued they listening to directions, it becomes something they want to do and less of a chore making posing for photos way more fun, less stressful. A win win for them, parents, the bride + groom and us!
3. We take a photo and show it to them before anything else.
Now that they know who we are and we know them, we show them how the camera works. We take one photo of them and invite them to look at it on the back of our camera. And boy do they LOVE it! They instantly become more excited about the entire process of having to get their photo taken.
4. We get on their level.
Little ones spend most of their time viewing the world from knee level and always looking up. So to take the best photos we get on their level. One so they can see our faces and two so they are not looking up in all the photos but rather comfortably looking at the camera.
5. We capture the most important photos first.
There are 6 photos we try to get every time (if we can) that we think are more important than getting them in the big bridal party photos. Because somethings getting them in a large group can overwhelm them. Here’s the list:
*Flower Girl(s) by herself/themselves + the Ring Bearer(s) by himself/themselves
*Flower Girl(s) and Ring Bearers(s) together
*Flower Girl(s) with the Bride
*Ring Bearer(s) with the Groom
*Flower Girl(s) and Ring Bearer(s) with the Bride and Groom
*Organic photo of them playing
6. Have mom help.
During the 6 photos above, if we are working with really little ones who struggle looking at the camera, we ask the mom(s) of the little ones to be there with us, to be more specific we ask the mom(s) to stand right behind us with a huge smile and encouraging words.
7. Age appropriate photos.
Sometimes flower girl(s) and ring bearer(s) are tiny infants or toddlers and others are in grade school . If they’re infants or toddlers, we ask the bride and groom to hold them. If they’re in grade school (depending on their hight), we will ask the bride and groom to squat down, sit with to them or stand next to them.
8. We keep it short + organic.
We keep posed photos with the flower girl(s) and ring bearer(S) short because attention spans or short. To many posed photos will drive even the best natured little one crazy. Over the years we have found that the best photos with the kids are the organic natural full on emotional shots. When children express their emotions they don’t hold back. So over the years we have trained ourselves to be in the and aware of the moment so we can captures those beautiful moments.
9. Things don’t always go as planned and thats ok.
And last but not least we remain calm. If for some reason things don’t go as planned and we don’t get the 6 photos above it’s ok. Throughout the day we have plenty of opportunities to capture the little ones smiling. So if it comes time for the posed photos and they are just not having it, be assured we will capture them smiling at some point in the day.