If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “I am nervous my kids won’t behave or smile for pictures”, I could basically fund my Starbucks habit
If you don’t know how much I love Starbucks, then that is just another way of saying that I hear this sentiment a LOT. Like, almost every single inquiry I get has some form of this statement included.
First of all, I don’t expect your kids to behave. They won’t. And that is 100% totally okay with me. What I DO want from them is to see what they are really like.
One of the BEST reasons for shooting sessions at home is because we have more control over the environment. I often give my clients the following pieces of advice before sessions to help set the session up for success.
I ask parents to think about “activities” we can do in case a child needs a distraction. Things that I think photograph well are tickling, reading a favorite book, snuggling a lovie, matchbox cars, sink baths, baking, dancing and telling jokes.
I encourage parents by letting them know that their children dictate the session. Yes, I will attempt to do certain things with them but in the end, the kids run the show. If they are happy and smiley then great! If they are quiet and serious that is great too. If they want to be held the entire time and refuse to look at me, that is also perfect. The goal is to capture them and the relationship with their parents, just as they are and I will definitely follow their lead.
Always have music playing! This is one of the absolute best ways to lighten the mood at home.
I tell my families’ that if someone needs a snack right before we start, by all means, feed them! Hangry kids (and parents) are no fun to be around!
This is a big one: I ask parents to turn off TVs and electronics at least 15 minutes prior to my arrival…trying to pry an iPad from a kid is never fun and will almost always end in tears.
The BIGGEST piece of advice I offer my parents is this: In the time leading up to the session, keep things light and fun at home. Kids feed off of the adults’ vibe and if parents are angry or stressed, then the kids will absolutely be cranky too! The thing that makes the biggest difference in a session is that the PARENTS have fun… take the pressure off and your kids will feel that positive energy.
I also encourage my people to just roll with it during a session. Sometimes things can get pretty wild and fun and silly and nothing spoils the fun faster than an adult yelling at a kid to smile at the camera.
That is it! Those are the most common tips that I give parents pre-session. And you know what? They work! After photographing hundreds and hundreds of families I can tell you without a doubt that when Mom and Dad follow this list, the sessions turn out DREAMY.
Does this mean that all sessions are smooth and without chaos? Absolutely not. But it DOES mean that we all just laughed our way through it and enjoyed the process. If you can do that, no matter how insane your kid is acting, then you can trust that I will capture your family’s unique magic. ❤️