As the parent of young children, newborns, or small infants photographing your children is one of the biggest priorities in their growing lives. Parents want to capture every milestone and stage of life. Photography sessions are on the rise and parents want their little ones captured several times a year. As a photographer and parent I am knowledgeable of both sides of photography. Some children have their own ideas and thoughts about taking pictures that don’t go along with mom or dad’s plan. Today, I want to share some tips and advice to help make your day go a little smoother.
1. Pick the right time of day for your children: I know sometimes photographers offer scheduled session times, but try to snag the best spot for your children early on. You know your child’s nap schedules more than anyone and those naps are necessary for keeping them happy and in good spirits.
2. Let them help with their clothing: If you have children who are of age to help with their attire for that day, give them a say in what they want to wear. Ideally introduce this idea a week or so in advance and have them choose a back up in case they change their mind. This allows them to get excited about their photos and they feel like they play a bigger part in the day.
3. Bring snacks and refreshments: Children get tired, cranky, and hungry easier when they are being told how to sit, stand, smile. So, allow for small breaks and offer food and refreshments to them if you feel they are on verge. This is especially helpful if it is a hot day.
4. Bring their favorite toy or stuffed animal: This is especially helpful for ages 0-3. Even the photographer can use it to make the child happy if they are not smiling. Many children want their special friend photographed, too, so this helps get them comfortable in front of the camera.
5. Bring puffs or mum mums for the tiny babies: These small snacks are easy to hide and keep baby happy and distracted for some time. These are especially helpful for the fidgety or squirmy 12-18 month olds.
6. Explain how important photos are: I’ve seen many children change their moods instantly when mom or dad says, “These pictures are for Daddy for his birthday” or “Grandma is going to put these pictures in her house.” In most cases it has helped to get a few more good snaps.
7. Practice Before: Mention what kind of smiles you want your kids to make and practice them. These days, it always works when I say, “Show me your Elsa or Anna smile.” Little girls especially get all bright eyed when I mention Frozen.
8. Reward them: Be sure to explain to your child beforehand that the photos will take a lot of work, but if they do well they can get a toy or ice cream after for their good job. Although, mentioning ice cream or toys too often during the shoot can get your child upset and they may not want to take many more pictures after hearing this. Only mention it during the last few photos if your child is losing interest. I’ve seen way too many kids just give up and demand their toy/ice cream after the parent reminds them of their reward.
Fall sessions are just around the block and many parents will be itching to get their children photographed. I hope these tips will help make your family’s photo session go a little smoother! Any tips I am missing?