Photographer’s Child Syndrome – is your child affected????

Does your child suffer from the Photographer’s Child Syndrom (PCS)? The symptoms include eye rolling or vocal objection at the sight of you picking up the camera or reluctantly playing along adopting less than sincere poses and the “cheese” variety smiles. Sounds familiar?

It might not be too late for you yet. In our experience, the syndrom usually comes into its own from around age 3 upwards. This is both good and bad news. Good news, because it’s the age where you can begin to discuss and negotiate with your child a little. Bad news, because anyone who has ever tried to negotiate with a toddler knows that there are no real winners here. But still, persevere, there is hope.

Below, we’ve rounded up a few strategies for helping your overcome PCS. If you have any of your own to add, share them on the forum and we’ll add them in!

  • Involve your child in the process. 

If they are old enough, you could think of getting them a kids camera ( like the Kiddizoom by Vtech) or even just a super simple small compact where they need to simply press the button to take the photos. The children’s cameras will be more shock absorbent and immune to the many dangers a toddler can pose to themselves and their environment, but the downside is a teeny tiny LCD screen and not the greatest picture quality. Alternatively, you could simply get them to see what you’re doing and ask them to help direct shooting a favourite toy or another family member.

  • Make the photos tangible for them

All too often we take pictures only to look at them once after downloading onto the computer and then never seeing them again ourselves – let alone the long suffering subject of our photographic obsession. But for your child, they aren’t ‘real’ – certainly not something worth putting up with all this camera nonsense. But print them ou and either let your child display them in your room as prints, create an “Jimmy’s adventures”  photo book where you can stick their photos in after you’ve been somewhere interesting or even print a small photo book with fun captions from a family holiday or a trip. I guarantee you that the kids will value those and be more receptive to being in front of the camera.

  • Make it a game or a child centric activity

Make the photography a part of a game or a make believe activity. Get props, new toy, go to a fun setting or a location – all with them knowing that this new exciting thing will involve a camera. This is not about tricking your child into thinking they’ll be doing something when suddenly you whip up your camera – make it clear that the camera will be there to keep a record of the fun activity

  • Reverse psychology and peer pressure

Yes, I know what you’re thinking but try this. The next time your child has a friend over ( and having secured a permission to do that from the friends parents) tell the kids you’d like to take a few pictures of the friend. Make it really fun, making him/her laugh and giggle and play around. Chances are, your child who’s suddenly not being pestered for a photo, will voluntarily get in on the action.

  • Give them a break.

And I mean not just for a day – turn your attention to different kinds of photography for a little while – if anything,  it’s likely to widen your horizons and expand your style. You could even tell your kids that you are doing it so they feel calm about not being in danger of being pestered for photos and then gradually reintroduce the camera in small doses, and with their knowledge.

  • Agree boundaries or time limits and stick to them

If you tell them “I’ll just take 1 photo” and then shoot for 30 min, they’re not likely to trust you next time. Negotiate 5 – 10 photos and make them count. Invest in a silly egg timer and if you say you only have 5 minutes, set it for 5 minutes and stick with it.

  • Fake smiles? 
Tell them to be really really serious instead. Most kids can rarely hold a very serious face for long ( especially when faced with toilet jokes – do what works for you!) and usually crack a lovely genuine smile. Or alternatively, get them to fake laugh big belly laughs – the sillier and louder the better. This one has a similar effect and you usually get them to revert to ‘normal’ smiles after a while. I’d also recommend building up library of silly jokes.
Have you got other suggestions or tried and tested ways to manage PCS? Let us know in the comments below!
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