How to Soothe a Camera-Shy Child

How to Soothe a Camera-Shy Child

If your child isn't comfortable or gets upset about being in front of the camera, it can be difficult to get the photos you want. Here, seasoned kid photographer Robert DeSantos of PhotoOp NYC shares some secrets for calming camera-shy kids.


If a child is too young to understand what’s going on, how can you get him to respond to the camera?

Young children have a tendency to feed off of others’ energy, so if your initial approach is warm and welcoming a child will sense that. I personally am a big child myself so I always act silly with my clients, making jokes and wacky sounds to generate fun expressions. Children will also mimic your behavior, so if you smile chances are the child will smile as well. Having a fun and outgoing demeanor is key to making children feel comfortable and allows them to open up and show their true personality. 

robert desantos photoop nyc

Here's Rob capturing photos of one of our 2014 Kids Cover Contest finalists.
(She was not camera shy!)


How do you recommend calming a child when she's upset about being in front of the camera?

When dealing with children who are overwhelmed with being in a strange new environment like a photo studio, it’s very important to keep that fun-loving attitude. I immediately kneel down to a child’s eye level so they aren’t looking up at some giant scary man, and I’ll just engage them with silly questions and try and get a high-five out of them. If they go for the high-five, I will always have them miss a few times until they are determined to “catch me.” Once they do, I’ll act like they are super-strong and hurt my hand, which 99.9 percent of children find hysterical!

If a child cannot be soothed at the photo shoot, is it still possible to capture quality photos?

The key is never to give up. Some of the most beautiful shots can develop from a more challenging shoot.


Find more tips from DeSantos on capturing the best photos of your child at home.


Rob DeSantos is a photographer at PhotoOp NYC, the studio behind our annual kids' cover contest. Specializing in family portraits, PhotoOp NYC excels at making kids of all ages shine, from formal sittings to more creative promotional offerings during the year, including beloved Easter shots with fuzzy yellow baby chicks and on-location “candids” in the park or at a beach.