How to make a Hot Shoe Toy for photographing Children

August 10, 2010 · 10 comments

in Crafts,Equipment,portraiture,Tutorials

Photographing small children can be quite a challenge if you are not prepared! Here are a few pointers to help ensure you get great shots, every time!

Dress appropriately
Children like bright colours and super heroes. Wear something cheerful.

When photographing babies and small children, ask the Mom to plan a nap time before the shoot. A photo session can be a lot to take in for a small child, and combined with tiredness, is not a recipe for success.

Learn their names & spend some time with them before hand
Before you start the photo session, spend some time with the child. Play with them, ask them questions, and let them get to know and feel comfortable around you.

Cute names and Coo noises
Many kiddies respond well to cute and funny names, a few of my favourites are Princess, Pumpkin Pie, Chicken and Rock Star. For babies, even just coo noises, like “goo-goo gaga” works!

Most little people love music. Ask the Mom to bring an iPod with their favourite nursery rhymes, and bring along a portable docking station.

Sometimes young kids need an incentive to keep them going. Bring a bag of treats, and tell them you have a surprise after the shoot. Give them small rewards after each great shot. Children love seeing themselves, so also show them the images on the LCD.

Props, activities & attention span
Plan out props and activities for the photo session. Remember that little people tire quickly and have a short attention span. Change props, activities and wardrobe often to keep them intrigued.

Hot Shoe Toys
Hot shoe toys can be useful for getting babies and small children to look up at the camera. Not only will this emphasise their eyes, but there will also be a genuine look of interest or amusement in their facial expressions.

How to make a Hot Shoe Toy

You will need:
•    A small toy (A MacDonald’s Happy Meal toy works beautifully, and you can eat the meal while making the Hot Shoe Toy!)
•    An old hot shoe adapter
•    Heavy-duty leather or cardboard
•    Strong glue
•    Pencil
•    Ruler
•    Cutting knife

Step 1: Make the mount
Measure the space at the top of the Hot Shoe, and cut the leather to size. Now cut a smaller piece that will be glued on top. Allow the glue to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Attach the toy to the mount
Check that your mount fits snugly into the Hot Shoe. Add a generous amount of strong glue onto the leather mount, and place the toy on top. Clamp if necessary, and allow the glue to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 3: Attach the Hot Shoe Toy onto your camera
Slide the Hot Shoe onto your camera, and then slide in the mount with the attached toy. Now go and test it out!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Dagmar August 10, 2010 at 1:03 pm

I think for most kids/babies it’ll be more a case of planning the photo shoot after a nap rather than visa versa :D

rikki hibbert August 10, 2010 at 1:08 pm

hee hee! I agree! Thanks for the tip!

Tristan Hall August 11, 2010 at 9:09 am

I like this post, really great ideas.

rikki hibbert August 11, 2010 at 9:11 am

Thanks Tristan! I hope you make a hot shoe toy and test it out on your little one!

L'Zeri Swart August 11, 2010 at 11:13 am

Gee… great ideas!!!!!!! You never get the mongrils to sit still and look at you! :-)

rikki hibbert August 11, 2010 at 11:19 am

LOL! You are hilarious! :-)

Erika van Zyl August 13, 2010 at 9:25 am

Great ideas! Lol

rikki hibbert August 13, 2010 at 10:29 am

Thanks! The great thing with Hot Shoe Toys, is that you can make different ones for different age kids. For a baby you might use a small fluffy teddy, while for a little boy you can use a super hero figure. You can easily slide off the toy and replace it with another.

Julian August 18, 2010 at 8:49 am

Wow, this is amazing. Really great idea.

It’ll keep my attention!


rikki hibbert August 18, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Yes, I have noticed an even better reaction from adults with the Hot Shoe Toy! Looks like everyone has an inner child that needs to be entertained ;-)

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