I am a photographer who has photographed hundreds of children over the past 10 year. I’m also a mom of two, and have previously worked with kids and studied child development. Needless to say, I know a little about kids! I know these sessions are an investment, and you want the best outcome possible! After watching and observing…I have come up with the top 10 tips to preparing your kids for their photo session.
- Feed them beforehand! Hangry children are a real thing and something never to reckon with! Also, think through what you feed them right before as certain foods stain their mouth and hands as well as clothing. Bring along an easy, non-messy snack and water just in case!
- Dress them appropriately for the weather. There are so many cute ideas on layering now days, at the very least…bring along a cute coat if it’s winter time and freezing. Trust me, if they are comfortable, they are more likely to smile and not fight us! (Helpful hint: if it’s really cold, bring hand warmers for their pockets, or stick them in their shoes!) On the same note, it can’t hurt to have a back-up outfit or baby wipes for accidents. =)
- Make sure they are well rested. Don’t plan a sleepover the night before, or skip a nap if you can help it. Try to plan it during a non stressful day.
- Relax and breathe! Kids pick up on your stress and feed off that all too easily. It’s perfectly acceptable to discipline your children or address behaviors that are not appropriate, but pick and choose your battles. Yelling “smile” in their face typically does not go over well. =) (PS:I’ve totally been that parent!)
- Prep your kids on what to expect, but don’t make the session to be a huge deal. Let them know you are going somewhere fun with your family and are going to play and have an adventure. Let them know your friend Kristin will be coming along and will have a camera, but don’t make it a big deal. You can totally also give them incentives for after the session that they can look forward to.
- Bring along a loved item, book, or think of a song ahead of time to sing. Stuffed animals can “do really cool tricks” to make kids laugh, and songs or books are a great distraction!
- Pick a location that fits for your family’s needs. Get thinking! Where is your child most engaged and calm? If your kid is afraid of crowds, we probably shouldn’t do the session downtown. If your child can’t handle going by a playground without a massive meltdown, we might choose a less distracting environment. Is your child active and need room to run around? If so, we might pick a field!
- Interact with them! Engage them! Play with them! Throw them around, or attack them with kisses. Ask questions about what they see, or sing a silly song! Anything that encourages connection makes for those special moments you’ll want to remember.
- Let go of perfection! Kids WILL be kids. They will push back, or show their quirks. Embrace the stage they are in and be in the moment. Don’t worry…I’ve seen it all!
- Fill out the questionaire! This is something I’ve just started incorporating in our corespondence before our session. It really helps me get to know your family’s unique needs and helps me know how to connect with your kids!
The goal is to set us up for success the best we can, then you can relax and let me do the rest! =)