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Bribery – Do You Ever Bribe to Get Better Photographs?

Bribery – Do You Ever Bribe to Get Better Photographs?

I got to thinking today about “bribery.”  When I photograph my kids I often use bribes.  I have found them harmless – whether it is a dollar or a piece of candy or somewhere I promise to take them…  It works (well usually it does)… And they cooperate so I can get some cute shots.  This way they feel something is “in it for them.”

In terms of others besides my twin girls, I occasionally bribe all of you (to comment, to vote, etc) – ok – maybe bribing is too harsh a word, but I offer discounts, codes, prizes, contests.  And it is more effective when I do.  I get more comments and more interaction when I have a prize or drawing (as a rule anyway – let’s see what happens with this post since there is no giveaway).  Most other sites I visit are the same way. People often need a little incentive – not just kids but sometimes adults too.

So I got to thinking, do others bribe their subjects? What do they use to bribe? Do you thinking bribing is wrong?  I want to put a post together about bribes from the data I collect in these polls and comments. Please be open, honest, and blunt.  I do not expect everyone to feel the way I do.

Please vote in the poll – and then in the comment area – write why you never bribe.  Or if you do, what types of things do you use for bribes (ie. candy, toys, etc).  Do your bribes ever turn into “the photography?”  For example, “I will take you swimming if you let me take some photos?” or “We can do X if you give me a few minutes to take a few pictures?” 

Also make a note who you bribe – kids, family, friends, seniors, pets, etc.  If you never bribe, what do you feel are more effective ways to get your kids or other subjects to participate in getting their photos taken if they are uninterested?  I will share the results from this in another post in a few weeks.

[poll id=”17″]

Below is an example of my bribing my kids and their friends.  They wanted to get in swimsuits and play in our master bathroom tub (in February – middle of winter).  So I said., “sure, as long as I can take some pictures…”  Do you feel that is wrong? Is it festive and fun? The parents of the other kids were sure glad I did – they loved the shots. But I know some may feel you should let kids be kids. Speak up and let me read what you have to say.


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  1. May 6, 2009 at 9:04 am — Reply

    I totally use bribes! It’s the only way my kids will cooperate. When I’m shooting someone else’s kids the need to bribe isn’t as strong, they are usually cooperative, but I have the option to do so and will when needed. No harm and I end up with more then just snapshots of kids running away, LOL!

  2. May 6, 2009 at 9:07 am — Reply

    I have never had to bribe my kids to let me take their pictures usually they are willing subjects but I wouldn’t consider it out of the question. No I do have to bribe my husband on the other hand since he hates it when I take his picture but I usually win. Usually he gets out of housework for letting me shoot.

  3. May 6, 2009 at 9:16 am — Reply

    I think bribing, especially with kids, is just fine. Kids don’t fully grasp the concept of memories and time, so bribing them helps them participate in capturing that moment. I know that someday my kids will look at all the photos we have of them (which I bribed them to take) and be very glad, as adults, that they have these memories to look back on and share with others.

  4. May 6, 2009 at 9:16 am — Reply

    I think there might be a little bit of an issue with the terminology. Bribing has a negative connotation because you are rewarding behavior before it happens. Reinforcing a behavior after it happens is a good thing and is quite different than bribery – though people often confuse the two.

    For example – if you want to take snaps of your kids – and you promise them ice cream so that they will behave – yes. That is bribery. You’ll temporarily get the behavior you want. Maybe!

    What is more effective in the long run is to reinforce good behavior when you want it. So, get out your camera and ask for one shot – or just take an unposed shot. Then thank them with a trip to the park – or a treat – something that you know they like. They didn’t know the reward was coming until after they at least kind of participated and helped you. Repeating this over time and you’ll see greater cooperation. Moods and personalities will always affect behavior, but by rewarding good stuff when you see it, you’ll get better cooperation in general (As many people in the field of behavior modification say, “Catch them doing something right!”)

    Here’s an article with more detail: http://www.pioneerthinking.com/gd_reinforcement.html
    Another good one: http://www.growingwell.com/themes/theme_may2002.htm

    • May 6, 2009 at 2:01 pm — Reply

      I like your ideas Mary – of catching them doing something right. Thank you for your fb.

  5. May 6, 2009 at 9:17 am — Reply

    I use this mostly on kids…I don’t have my own children as of now, but I do use it on subjects. Sometimes children want to do their own thing, which is 90% of the time, okay since those make the best photos anyways, but for the times I would like them to “pose” a small piece of candy is always good. At the end, they usually get some sort of little toy or prize so they know all their hard work was appreciated and they were awesome!

  6. May 6, 2009 at 9:21 am — Reply

    If I’m photographing kids, I always bring candy just in case I need something to grab their attention. My favorite bribe is the big striped suckers that you can get from Walgreens. Pictures of the kids eating those are usually too cute. If it’s someone else’s child that I’m bribing, I make a point to ask the parent if it’s ok for them to have the candy before I even mention it to the child.

  7. May 6, 2009 at 9:21 am — Reply

    I totally bribe wedding parties, they’re not as into the photos as the couple, so sometimes it’ll be just a few formal ones then we’ll do a fun picture or any insane one they want! Or it’ll be “just 2 more shots and you’re done and can get a drink!” It’s effective 🙂 I don’t think it’s very harmful and usually don’t have to do it with clients but with their parties 🙂 Also, if I do a children’s session usually the parent will offer the bribe not me so that’s nice 🙂

  8. May 6, 2009 at 9:24 am — Reply

    I don’t typically bribe, but my clients do. It drives me BANANAS, because they mostly bribe with CANDY or FOOD! My “bribing” is limited to bargaining. For example yesterday I told a two year old, “Okay once we are done on the bridge (shoot location), then we can go to the park (swings)…but we CAN’T go to the Park until we play some on the bridge. This worked like a charm. But, in some cases my parents always are standing behind me “Smile, honey, smile and I’ll give you a lolipop”….ACK!

  9. May 6, 2009 at 9:27 am — Reply

    I’m all about the bribes, but all of my subjects are little kids, bribing is really just working with them, in my opinion. Sit here on the boring rock and then we’ll go to the rope bridge! or if you look over at mommy holding your lovey then you can have it.

    My son, along with big sister, just had his shoot done for Flashes of Hope. They set up shop on the oncology floor. The unit means one thing to my 2 year old, free unfettered and never ending access to red popsicles. We could not get him to do anything, he wanted those damn popsicles. So I asked the photographer if they would be upset if any drips got on the backdrop and we got him his popsicles. He and sister sat there perfectly pleased, double fisting popsicles.

    But see, that’s Josh, that’s Josh with cancer, double fisting red popsicles. So was it really a bribe or was it just truly capturing his cancer experience?

    I once read a photographer bought the kids in the family she was shooting donuts. She didn’t consider it a bribe, it was sugar for energy and a photo op. I agree, it’s not about it being a bribe as much as steering your subjects into a photo opportunity without them feeling forced.

  10. May 6, 2009 at 9:45 am — Reply

    I use bribes in all different forms!

    I do find that I’ll take my kids someplace where I really want to get great pictures. It’s an incentive for me to get out of the house and it’s part of the reason they get to go…so the conversation is…”You want to go to the park today? Ok…but let me get a few pictures, alright?” This lets them know that mom’s going to have her camera out, they get to have fun, and I get to chronicle the trip with a few posed or action shots!

    I mainly use the candy bribe for the kids of paying customers as my kids might get a treat after dinner if the cooperate.

  11. May 6, 2009 at 9:45 am — Reply

    With my kids and my clients’ kids, my usual bribe is that we will do as many silly photos, weird locations, and goofball faces as they want as long as they let me get some other photos, too. I often tell the kids that I have a rule that for every photo where they smile nicely, we have to take a photo of them doing something funny. Kids are usually pretty cooperative with me, but I sometimes feel bad because I’m usually completely undermining whatever their parents told them or are in fact telling them at that very moment!

    I really truly bribed my own daughter once – I told her if she would get in her ballet class photo, her dad could take her to get chips and chocolate and anything she wanted from the treat store afterward. It worked!

  12. May 6, 2009 at 9:48 am — Reply

    I agree with you Jodi, I don’t have a problem with harmless bribery. The only ones I take pictures of are my own kids, and I know it’s not always easy for them to pose when their minds are on playing or doing something more fun; so a little bribery helps me (and them). You never know, you just might get a once-in-a-lifetime picture out of it, too.

  13. Sue
    May 6, 2009 at 9:48 am — Reply

    Whether you call it ‘reinforcing good behavior’ or ‘bribery’, it’s all the same thing. My kids are grown, so I now attack the nieces and nephews until more grandchildren arrive. My sisters 4 year old triplets immediately ask ‘do I need to change?’ or ‘where do you want me?’ when I walk in the door! Heck, sometimes I just want to play with the Wii! But, I do have something (usually bubble gum) once in awhile for them. The age of the subject will dictate the treat I carry with me.

  14. Silvina
    May 6, 2009 at 9:56 am — Reply

    Before i had my kids i used to cringe whenever i heard parents bribe their kids, and i used to think (and say to my husband!) “I will NEVER bribe my kids” (of course with that “know-it-all voice and intonation only someone WITHOUT kids can have). Three kids later (two of them 3 1/2 year-old twin boys, i have been once again proven wrong, because i now bribe them ALL THE TIME!! 🙂 Honestly, sometimes it is the only way to get them to do what i need them to do and to restore some sanity in this house.

  15. May 6, 2009 at 10:03 am — Reply

    I bribe/reward my own kids – not so much other people’s – cos we do most of our shooting here at 7am-ish (sun is so crazy bright and hot in the Middle East) people are a bit funny about me giving their kids sweets for breakfast! But often we play bubbles or get to move onto the next bit of play equipment etc – however, if the parents bribe the kids to cooperate I’m fine with that! I might try some of the other ideas though like silly faces!

  16. May 6, 2009 at 10:25 am — Reply

    hmmmm…”bribe” is such a harsh word! “incentive”, perhaps? “bargaining”?

  17. May 6, 2009 at 10:40 am — Reply

    I’m not too proud to bribe, beg, or plead. Whatever it takes to get willing participants!

  18. May 6, 2009 at 10:46 am — Reply

    I use bribery a lot when I’m photographing children. It’s what works with them. When I’m photographing other children (other than my own) I always tell them that we can do some silly shots as soon as we are done taking some nice shots. That one seems to work well with the boys.

    I will bribe my own children with treats (usually) and sometimes money (one dollar usually works). I took my son out for ice cream when we did our last photo shoot together and it worked wonders. He was great about letting me set him up for a shot and posing even with people around us because he knew that along the way we were going to stop for ice cream. He worked hard and he deserved it.

    My daughter, on the other hand, isn’t so easily bribed. After eight years with a camera in her face, she’s done and I haven’t found anything to offer her that works. She gives me a nice smile every once in a while, but she doesn’t have the patience for a whole photo shoot.

  19. May 6, 2009 at 10:48 am — Reply

    I only use it when I’ve heard the parents using it. I don’t want to make hollow bribes and get the parents angry, so if they’ve offered ice cream if they behave, I’ll do the same thing.

  20. May 6, 2009 at 11:15 am — Reply

    yes! my boys are little so icepops work wonders around here.

  21. May 6, 2009 at 11:19 am — Reply

    Heck Yes I use bribes! Like “I’m gonna smack you if you don’t sit still…now smile!” Just kidding…no, ok I really do this..only once…or twice! 🙂 I mostly try to get them to sit still, that is so hard for little kids….even for Grandpas, they never seem to look where I want them to! So I know that sugar puts more ants in their pants so candy bribes don’t always work for me, so I try to ask them questions to make them think, like what words do you know how to spell or saying stuff like “were having purple pickles for lunch today” gets a great reaction and funny faces are fun to capture. So Jodi, this is probably VERY long overdue, but I love your site, I come here every day and I learn from you all the time, your video tutorials are incredible, thank you, thank you, thank you!

  22. Kara
    May 6, 2009 at 12:12 pm — Reply

    I absolutely bribe and feel no shame in it!

  23. May 6, 2009 at 12:19 pm — Reply

    Funny you should post this, I just called some photographers the other day to get my kids pics taken. There was one lady who I just wasn’t digging. When I called her back to let her know I found someone else, she started to negotiate with 10% off. Still a no for me, so she was trying to bribe me by throwing in extra prints for free.

  24. May 6, 2009 at 12:34 pm — Reply

    A little bribery never hurt anyone 🙂
    I did my very first portrait session a few weeks ago. It was for a family of 5. I gave each of the two older siblings a Kinder Surprise Egg (with Mom & Dad’s permission) at the end of their session.

  25. May 6, 2009 at 1:19 pm — Reply

    Sorry Jodi,

    As a mental health professional and a photographer, I will not use bribery. Children are often too young to acknowledge the positive/negative reinforcement aspect. Most of the time, they learn to “perform” only when there’s something in it for them. I’m always striving for a great pic, but not at the cost of a power struggle. Once an adult resorts to bribery, the child has already won control of the situation. I hate to see parents goading a child just to get a cute smile. I’ll put in the extra work and time, and get the shot another way…….I’ll probably receive lots of hate mail on this one. You asked for an honest opinion…..

    • May 6, 2009 at 2:05 pm — Reply

      Barbara, this is totally meant to be controversial. If everyone just said they bribe and believe in it – I would have felt they were not being honest with me. I am glad you spoke up – and I hope others who feel the way you do will too. Jodi

  26. MariaV
    May 6, 2009 at 1:37 pm — Reply

    The only reason I don’t bribe is because I don’t have a subject that would accept a bribe. I bribed my husband once, but it hasn’t worked since. (He agreed to being my subject for an afternoon. I saw a shot before our session. He agreed to letting me shoot the shot if I would let him out of the session.) My dogs refuse to accept bribes. I knew there was a reason I should have had children. 🙂

  27. MariaV
    May 6, 2009 at 1:39 pm — Reply

    The only reason I don’t bribe is because I don’t have a subject that would accept a bribe. I bribed my husband once, but it hasn’t worked since. (He agreed to being my subject for an afternoon. I saw a shot before our session. He agreed to letting me shoot the shot if I would let him out of the session.) My dogs refuse to accept bribes. I knew there was a reason I should have had children. 🙂

    P.S. If you’re interested, this is the shot http://www.flickr.com/photos/mdvelazquez/173161148/.

  28. May 6, 2009 at 1:40 pm — Reply

    For some reason I could not vote.

    I bribe all the time in photography. I hate to call it bribing instead I call it incentive. If they take pictures I will give them something, like let them climb the wall over there, or a piece of candy, I let them take a picture of me with my camera (yes my big expensive camera), etc.

    I don’t like to get my picture taken so I understand it, but I give them incentives to get the job done.

    I give a little for them to give a little. Works out quite well.

  29. Meghan
    May 6, 2009 at 1:52 pm — Reply

    I don’t usually have to bribe, but I definitely use it when needed. I don’t have kids of my own, but I take pictures of my nephews often and sometimes they need something in return for a photo. My husband is a great sport, he’ll sit there and let me take pictures of him all day. My dog is hopeless, bribing will only make him sit with his ears up, my favorite ones of him are when he’s calm and playing and doesn’t really know I’m taking pictures.

  30. Cindy
    May 6, 2009 at 2:47 pm — Reply

    I think “bribe” is too harsh a word. Lets use something like reward. You rewarded the girls with a splash in your tub because they let you take pictures. My husband rewards me with lunch out when I ride my bike with him to the restaurant. See doesn’t that sound better?!

  31. May 6, 2009 at 2:50 pm — Reply

    Bribery is a beautiful thing, it’s the only way my four year old will pose for me!!

  32. May 6, 2009 at 2:53 pm — Reply

    I will bribe my son all the time. Usually with a piece of candy or an activity that he has been wanting to do (trip to Chick-fil-A, park, etc). I haven’t come up with a good bribe for others but am I not against it. I’m just getting ready to launch my business so I’m excited to see some suggestions in this area as Christmas photo sessions will be upon us and I’d like to be as prepared as possible!

  33. May 6, 2009 at 3:04 pm — Reply

    I have never thought of “bribing” my grandkids…..I just plead. Two in one family like going places to take pictures (“let’s go to the rusty truck”), the other two from my son’s family only like to stay at my house….so I have to come up with unusual backgrounds.
    But I read a great blog somewhere the other day about having fun props. So I took the kids to Target and got cheap bubbles, and got 200 bubble blowing pictures that they begged me to take.
    I may, however, start actual bribes, since I hadn’t thought of it before!!!
    Other than my grandkids, I usually just have to play with them for awhile, and they like hamming it up for my camera!

  34. May 6, 2009 at 5:49 pm — Reply

    I think bribing is ok in moderation. Sometimes it’s the only way I can get my kids to allow me to take pics of them, but I normally try to bribe them by saying “who wants to be my special helper?”, so it’s not a “typical” bribe. I recently needed to bribe a child at a shoot who was throwing a fit about the clothes he was wearing and mom&dad could not control him, so my solution was to “bribe” him by allowing him to take a picture w/ my camera of his parents if he did a good job for me (w/ my help of course).

  35. May 6, 2009 at 5:59 pm — Reply

    I don’t thing it is really bribing to say you will do something for someone if they do something for you. I think it is only really a bribe if the other person is protesting. Although my kids don’t jump up and down to have their picture taken, if I “sweeten the deal” they are more inclined to have fun with it. I almost enter into a deal with them. “Do you guys want to go outside? Ok! I’m going to take pictures while we’re out there, ok? then I’ll play too!”

    I had my first shoot today in a school. I didn’t have to bribe the kids at all to have their pictures taken, it was so new and exciting for them, they were thrilled to be a part of the experience. So, I’m not sure how I would go about photographing a client who is protesting to the process. I would approach it on a case by case basis.

    Overall, I think it is certainly possible to have a fantastic experience and allow “kids to be kids” while taking photos. Those are the moments we’re trying to capture. Sometimes I feel like if we step back and enjoy the process ourselves, the moments are more inclined to come.

  36. May 6, 2009 at 6:37 pm — Reply

    i say if it works, do it. i did a family portrait session for some friends of mine a few weeks ago and their 3 year old was NOT having her picture taken at all, and i know she is such a girly girl and loves all things “pretty” so i would bribe her with pieces of my jewelry. “if you’ll sit next to mom and smile pretty you can wear my bracelet” luckily i was wearing a lot that day, i gave her two bracelets, a necklace, and a ring lol, but i worked. i’ve bribed my nephew numerous times with candy as well and he does a great job if he gets something out of it. i’ve never had to bribe adults, but my usual line to an adult whining about getting their picture taken is “you’ll thank me in ten years”

  37. cathy
    May 6, 2009 at 6:43 pm — Reply

    I’m w/ the poster above – the only reason I don’t bribe is because it doesn’t work on my usual subjects, my spec needs child & her friends. I totally would if it worked, nothing wrong w/ a little positive reinforcement or reward, as long as it doesn’t cross the line & cease to be fun at the same time.

  38. May 6, 2009 at 6:52 pm — Reply

    i sometimes use bribes with my family, but often they are willing to let me take a shot or two. i sometimes use bribes with client’s children – but i find that most of the parents have already offered a bribe before they even come for the shoot. most popular seems to be ‘after this we will go to lunch at mcdonalds’. when i am ready to grow my business i plan on offering incentives (bribes?) for people to pass my name on, participate on my blog etc…

  39. Holly
    May 6, 2009 at 7:16 pm — Reply

    When it comes to my kids I always have to bribe, they get bored easy and destracted fast. Once they know they are getting something for just sitting there and dealing with me its worth it. Plus when they see their own picture they get excited.

  40. May 6, 2009 at 8:41 pm — Reply

    I bribe my own kids FOR SURE!!! With clients children I get permission (M&M’s) from the parents first!

  41. May 6, 2009 at 9:34 pm — Reply

    Bribe implies something devious. I prefer to call it incent. There is nothing wrong with providing an incentive to get the behavior need for the task. This is a win-win situation.

  42. May 7, 2009 at 12:33 am — Reply

    My 3 boys are so tired of me taking there picture all the time. I don’t do as much any more. In the fall I had a fellow photographer friend take our picture and my boys were not cooperative at all. So, I took them back the next day to get just some shots of just them. I thought of the greatest bribe. I told them they could have a nickel for ever smile in a picture. It worked like a charm. We came home and looked through the pics and counted all the smiles. My middle child earned $7.50……..it was worth every nickel. I don’t always use bribery, but in some situations it is helpful. I like the term Marci Lambert used…”incentives”.

  43. May 7, 2009 at 12:48 am — Reply

    My kids have been bribed. Let’s see, $1 sometimes more depending on cooperation, Littlest Pet shop, trip to the dollar store, candy any incentive sometimes depending on their desire or many times please works. I think the bathtub in bathing suits is GREAT! You got great shots they had fun and they have the memory. I haven’t bribed customer kids yet but was thinking of a basket of little things they could choose from after pictures…

  44. May 7, 2009 at 2:17 am — Reply

    I always end up bribing my son, who is 4, as he never wants to pose for a professional photographer. He has no problem smiling for me at home, so it’s rather annoying, and I’ll do whatever I have to in order to get the photos I’m paying for!

  45. Brittany
    May 7, 2009 at 2:48 am — Reply

    I bribe my photo subjects a lot of the time – but not with things, with pictures. Depending on the subjects, I’ll tell them that if they cooperate and let me take X number of good pictures, I’ll let them take some silly/fun/jumping pictures or be done with pictures.

  46. May 7, 2009 at 7:41 am — Reply

    I think that photo is precious & since your own kids are involved, yeah I probably would’ve done the same thing. I generally only bribe my own kids, but most days they have fun getting their pix done & have their own series of poses just waiting for a camera to be pulled out. My paying clients I don’t generally bribe, but I do hear most of the client-parents bribing their kids with some reward if they’ll cooperate during the session. I think it’s just a parent thing! 🙂

  47. May 7, 2009 at 7:44 am — Reply

    I think “bribe” is too harsh a word to use in this scenario. It conjures ideas in my mind of something negative when really, in the context that’s been described, it seems more like an early lesson in negotiating and/or compromising which are two life skills that will be sharperned, or need to be sharpened, as one gets older. Just yesterday I had a “gift” for my little client if he would sit with his parents while I took that one family shot….all the other shots were of him playing, moving, building. This one shot was for mom and the grandmom and they were very specific in terms of what they wanted…so I used a “gift” to get his attention and then reward him for a job well done. Bribe? The word doesn’t seem to fit here for me.


  48. May 7, 2009 at 11:07 am — Reply

    i would say “incentive” before bribe, but YES!

    normally it’s a small treat or snack, or that elusive lollypop I always have in my bag, and if i get the shots I want, the lollypop eating shots end up being the bang-up of the whole session!

  49. May 7, 2009 at 4:14 pm — Reply

    I have never used bribes… never really thought to do so. I usually just let the kids lead the shoot. In my heart I don’t agree with using bribes for my child, as I feel it sets a bad precedent teaching her that she should always expect a reward for normal behavior. Bribery makes me uncomfortable and I certainly would not want to make one of my clients- generally the ones with similar parenting styles- feel that way! I have had parents use bribery with their children during shoots and usually it’s not much help, ending up with fake smiles on tear-stained faces.

  50. May 7, 2009 at 6:52 pm — Reply

    In my day job I am a behavior interventionist. So I like to think I have a little specialized knowledge in this – All behaviors have consequences- good or bad or sometimes both. I never “bribe” children- however, if the consequence of a good phot shoot is a lollipop for them – I am OK with it. Especially if you look at it this way… the consequence of the lollipop many times is money for me – All behavior has a consequence. On a side not it also gives me something to talk about with the child to build a relationship -“Do you like candy? Oh really what kind? What color lollipop do you like? My favorite is ….” Just my humble opinion – Unfortunately with my own kids – the lollipop consequence is no longer affective – their favorite consequence…picking their own poses – which is not always bad!!!!

  51. May 7, 2009 at 8:07 pm — Reply

    I see it as “positive reinforcement”. Bribery is only bribery if you’re rewarding someone for doing something they shouldn’t do…

  52. May 8, 2009 at 9:56 am — Reply

    Bribery is a win-win situation! I get the shots I want and my subjects normally get a treat too. My latest bribes were cookies with icing and a “have at it” in my closet for dress-up. Worked like a charm! Even got a few extra dress-up shots free of charge. 🙂

  53. Amy
    May 8, 2009 at 11:20 am — Reply

    Definately! My own kids I can offer bigger bribes, but with my clients I take along some candy (ask the parents first) and use it as a “reward” rather than a bribe and only if they aren’t cooperating to begin with.

  54. May 8, 2009 at 2:06 pm — Reply

    Overall- I’m more about logic and reason with my subjects for the few shots of younger kids- that we’ll be done in just a few if they can do what I ask of them (which by the way is generally far easier if the parents just step back and let us play and not try to control the situation….) and then I just shoot life as it happens which usually are the best shots of the session….

    With that said tho- when it comes to my kids- yes- when I do their quarterly photo updates… there is usually a trip for ice cream involved- but only if they co-operate. My oldest is at the age where she just wants to give me aditude and my youngest just wants to be the clown that she is…. and trying to get the portraits I want out of that…. is enough to possibly require a cocktail hour to follow….. it does work most of the time- but I have infinate patience with everybody elses kids but my own! 🙂

    Bottom line- the photos of my kids is fun for me- not neccesarily for them- and they need to get something out of the deal- so no- I don’t feel badly about bribing them! 🙂 (perhaps I should- but that’s the only area of our lives that we do that with- the rest is clear cut in terms of behavior and chores.)

  55. May 8, 2009 at 3:37 pm — Reply

    I was a single person who said I would never bribe. I’m still on child #1 and I’m still not into bribing. However, I wouldn’t consider what you did bribing. More like a condition (“You may play w/ your Lincoln Logs if you clean them up afterward.”). To me it would have been bribery if you would have said, “Hey, guys, if you let me take a picture of you, I’ll let you get dressed up and…”) I voted that I only bribe my own child because I have done that when I’m trying to actually do a portrait shoot w/ him. (Boy is it ever tough being Mom and photog!) As I read through the comments I remembered something I’ve done w/ clients children that was really effective. I often tell them that if they’ll do ___ or stay sitting and let me take a few more I will let them see the picture afterward. Sometimes after they see it, they’ll want to take even more of the same so they can see it again. For the most part, I think kids today are so used to getting rewards or incentives for every little thing they do well that bribes aren’t even all that effective. I’d rather play with/talk to/relate with them, so that I can pull out the genuine person–even if it takes a lot more time than handing them a piece of candy. I do not like when parents are standing behind me going, “Come on, smile and co-operate and we’ll get ice cream after we’re done.” It’s never effective and you know they’ll end up getting the ice cream either way. I wish they’d just leave us alone and let me do the work. Sorry, had no idea this would get so lengthy.

  56. Tyra
    May 10, 2009 at 10:11 am — Reply

    Only my own kiddo. He is 14, and HATES to have his photo taken. If you look through my photos, if it wasn’t for bribery, you would think that he fell off of the face of the earth around 7 years old. Now I am all about the bribery with him. Nothing to major… but usually just enough to get him to cooperate with me for 10 minutes once in a while lol

  57. May 13, 2009 at 12:24 am — Reply

    I prefer “negotiations”. And they work with adults too! I just did pictures of my dh and 2 BILs and to get a couple shots they weren’t sure of I said then we’ll do some funny stuff after or we’ll try to get some jumping shots. Seriously, it works on grown men too. Not so much on 2yo boys though, candy works better. My kids get “rewarded” for good behavior and don’t get candy or other treats very often so it works for them.

  58. Renee
    May 21, 2009 at 8:24 pm — Reply

    I bribe my students… if everyone gets their work done we can….
    I bribe my children…if everyone finishes their chores we can go to…
    I bribe my husband…if you finish then we can finally…

    I am totally ok with it as they should be doing what is asked anyway….bribery…conditions, whatever you want to call it…it works and works well for most people!

  59. June 7, 2009 at 2:44 pm — Reply

    Just yesterday I told the bunch of groomsmen I had (who where not to enthusiastic about taking photos) that the better the cooperated they sooner they could get to the reception and drink. Of course I use bribes…not only is it a reminder to little joey of what awaits him when he gets to the end of the session…but once you mention the bribe I usually have my camera FULLY ready to see their reaction, more often then not it’s worthy of being in a frame. In the case of the groomsmen and the drinking I mentioned this and quickly shot a round of 8 shots…all of them smiling naturally, turning to each other and grinning and looking excited at the chance to spend the evening with Free drinks and pretty bridesmaids 🙂

    I only voted for not using bribery on my own family because they are all willing to take pictures!

  60. June 7, 2009 at 2:47 pm — Reply

    p.s bribery for photos is not bad, especially if you say to Client X (who happens to be 4) you know if you can be really well behaved, take some pictures smile…and blah..then reminding him through out the session is not so much a “bribe” but a reminder!

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Bribery – Do You Ever Bribe to Get Better Photographs?