Hi friends! Maybe you have a session booked with me this fall, or maybe you have a session with another fellow photographer, but either way, there is a good chance you are wondering how you will prepare your kiddos. You have invested your valuable time and money into this experience and you want it to go perfectly. Here are a few tips on how to prepare your kids for your family photography session.
There can be legit anxiety around having family photos taken and my hope is to ease some of your worries. If you are my client, you get access to a robust welcome site where I give you very specific details on helping your littles have the absolute best experience, however I still want to share this article as I think it will help many who are on the fence about having photos taken and also add to my welcome site materials.
1. First, read my post about What To Wear To Your Session by clicking HERE. This will help you get the best and most appropriate clothing in order.
2. Next, trust your photographer. I am a lifestyle family photographer. As I explained to a family I photographed last week, it's like when that unexpected guest comes to your home. Suddenly you notice socks on the couch, milk spilled on the counter, and paint on the wall. But the reality is, the guest probably doesn't even notice those things. You will be sensitive to all the minor misbehaviors that are happening but I see right through that. Lifestyle photography gives you the freedom to relax and let go of perfection. My job isn't to make you look perfect or to make your children behave perfectly and sit straight up on a stiff chair with a stiff smile. No, no. My job is to show you that your children are absolutely perfect just the way they are. I photograph hundreds of families each year and know how to get almost every child to relax and allow me to capture them. You hired me because you love what you see on my portfolio. Allow me to turn your children into art. I promise I will.
3. Tell them what will happen. I am a firm believer in being very upfront with children. The days leading up to the session tell them that a friend is going to be taking your family photos. Tell them that we are going to go to a really fun park or beach and that we are going to play. Tell them that your friend will be asking them to stand and sit in a few different ways. Tell them you expect them to be in the photos. You can tell them that it will be pretty fast. My shoots are usually 45 minutes to an hour and I still get loads of photos. Just look at my blog. ;)
4. Show them past family photos. When kids know that this experience will result in a series of fun photos of themselves, they may be more excited. Even if you only have iPhone photos to show them, the effect is the same. Most kids LOVE to see photos of themselves.
5. Make sure that they are fed and rested. I know. We just talked and I said we had to shoot at 7 pm to get the best light. But this can be remedied by putting them down for a late nap that day or if they don't' nap, clearing your schedule on photo day to allow them to rest before the shoot. Don't go on a hike and then to a soccer game on the same day as your photo shoot. Make your photos session the main event. Feed them dinner or a big snack before the session so they aren't hangry. Hungry kids are never easy to work with.
6. Offer a little reward for tolerating the session. Notice how I didn't say bribe. I actually see that back fire a bit when parents say "remember that ice cream cone?" In a super frustrated voice. And trust me. I have been there many times as a mom. Instead before the shoot say "as a family we are going to go out for burgers and shakes after the session is over." Or whatever sounds good. Just make the whole experience one of bonding and fun.
7. I will never make your child smile. If they smile, it will be because they are actually happy. I am okay with honest, pensive portraits of children. I also will never make your child leave your arms if they don't feel comfortable. I will capture them exploring and being them and then sneak in some portraits along the way.
8. Show them a picture of me. Head to my About page and show them a photo of me so I am not a strange face to them. This will make me seem more human and relatable. You can even go to my personal Instagram feed and show them photos of my kids and family. Then, they know I am just like you all. :)
I promise you, 99.9% of my sessions are fun and relaxed. My style is laid back. I have had numerous families tell me the kids actually said they had fun after my session and I think that is probably why they come back year after year. Because we actually have fun!
Photographers, feel free to share this article if you think it might help your families out this year.
I can't wait for all the sessions I have coming up in the next few months! I hope you are excited too.