Preparing your children for your photo shoot

So you have booked your family photo shoot for the year, perhaps with me, or perhaps with another fellow photographer, and you are wondering how to prepare your children for the event.  I know as a mom that it can be nerve-wracking to coordinate all your little ducks and get them in a row, and I also know that you are investing your valuable time and money into this experience.  Here are some tips to help prepare your children in order to have a great session and hopefully ease some of your anxiety!

If you are one of my clients, it is my mission from start to finish to help ease your worries and make this experience seamless.  From my welcome guide to consultations about outfits, I want you to be ready to just have a wonderful time once you arrive.  If you are on the fence about booking a session, I hope this helps to ease some of anxiety and best prepare you.

  1. Trust your photographer.  I am a lifestyle family photographer.  This type of photography grants you the freedom to relax and let go of perfection.  Having spent ten years working with families in their homes, I know that there is often nervousness about a clean house or a minor misbehavior from a child.  However, the reality is that I see right through that.  It is not my mission to have your children sit up straight or say “cheese” with a fake smile.  It is my job to capture your beautiful, perfect children for exactly who they are at this point in their life.  I have worked with hundreds of families over the years and with children from a variety of backgrounds, and I can almost always get any child to relax and allow me to capture them.  You hired me because you love my work.  Let me showcase your beautiful family and the love that shines from within.  I promise I will.
  2. Tell your children what will happen.  I believe in being up front with kids.  In the days leading up to the session, tell them that a friend of yours is going to be taking your picture.  Let them know that your family is going to go to a park or the mountains and the city.  Inform them that your friend may ask them to sit or stand a few different ways.  Tell them that you expect them to be in the photos.  You can also let them know that it’s going to be pretty fast.  My shoots are around 45-60  minutes and I get loads of images in that time.
  3. Make sure they are fed and rested.  My outdoor sessions occur at dusk, which can be late for little kiddos.  That crankiness can be remedied by ensuring the children have a good, solid nap or rest time that day; perhaps put them down later than normal.  Clear your schedule on photo day to allow for plenty of rest.  Make the photo shoot the main event.  To avoid any hangry children, give your children dinner or a big snack before the session.
  4. Offer an incentive, not a bribe.  Bribes tend to lead to parents making threats in a frustrated voice.  “Do you want that lollipop? Then…”  Heck, I have been one of those parents many a time.   However, I find that if you plan something fun after your shoot, like going out for a treat or dinner, you can reference that next fun event as something to look forward to.
  5. I want your child to be him or herself.  If they are smiling, it’s because they are happy.  If they are thoughtful and pensive, I am okay with that.  I will not make your child leave your arms if she doesn’t want to.  I will photograph them playing, running, and exploring, and will capture portraits along the way.
  6. Show them pictures of who I am.  Go to my About page so they see what my face looks like and so that I am not a stranger to them at our session.  You can even check out my Instagram to show them pictures of my family as well, so that they know I am just like you!

I want you to have fun and relax during our time together and I promise you that 99% of my sessions are just that!  I have actually had dads say that they had a great time during our session.  So take a deep breath, relax, and show up ready to have a great time connecting to and loving on your family.

I cannot wait for this fall season to take off and to document your family’s love affair!  If you haven’t booked your session yet, what’s stopping you??  Now is the time!  Click HERE.