Tips for an Awesome Shoot with Kids
You want beautiful, professional photos of you and your kids, but you’re worried about your children cooperating. Don’t. Stress. Even the most predictable children are still unpredictable! It’s just to be expected.
Here are some tips to help your next family photo session be a success.
When do you feel at your best each day? Children, like adults, have times of day when they are feeling most pleasant and cooperative. This is often in the morning, so consider a sunrise session where you can get the golden glow of the first day’s light on your family’s smiling faces.
You probably already know you shouldn’t bring a hungry child to a photo shoot. But even if they just ate a feast, you should still bring their favorite snacks. Snacks are the perfect opportunity to take a break when a shoot starts to go awry. Give them some fresh energy and take time for a reset.
Make sure you bring a snack that isn’t too messy. I advise my clients to avoid products like cheesy puffs and chocolate. Choose snacks like crackers or gummies.
Our kids don’t share in our appreciation of family photos. It’s simply a chore for them. A little bribery can go a long way to add some motivation. Consider a sweet treat like a lollipop, or a promise that you will all go out for ice cream after the shoot. Think about what they like to do most and plan a photo shoot for just before that activity. I’ve seen simple rewards turn challenging shoots into incredible ones.
If you have a child that has a particular need or quirk, communicate it with the photographer. Being made aware of challenges that the family is facing or things they find particularly amusing will allow the photographer to give you a personalized experience. Too much information is almost always better than not enough. Photographers appreciate being able to better connect with your child.
Communicate concerns with the photographer beforehand, such as wardrobe questions (or malfunctions) and physical or health challenges. This will help the whole process go more smoothly.
Build up the shoot as though you truly believe it is going to be a wonderful experience, even if you’re nervous. Kids (and spouses) read our energy and internalize it. If you are excited, they will be too! This will set up a great foundation for a positive family experience and help everyone look forward to family photos each time the time arrives. You know what they say, “If mama ain’t happy . . ..”
Once you have arrived at the session, sit back, relax, and enjoy the experience. The photographer will let you know if they need your help directing your child.
6. Dress for success
Dress your children in layers year around. In the winter, they should have one extra layer than you think they need. In the summer, they should be able to remove an extra layer to cool themselves. While this may seem like common sense, a cold child can grin and bear it but the photos will reflect their discomfort. A cardigan can make all the difference to them looking miserable versus looking comfortable and content.
It is important to note also that our weather can fluctuate dramatically. Planning for layering will ultimately make dressing your family simpler once the date gets closer and the forecast is more accurate.
7. Be flexible
We all have bad days. Sometimes adults simply need to reschedule an appointment. Kids are the same. If your child is having an off day and can’t seem to get out of the funk, let your photographer know. They will either suggest proceeding as planned with a backup plan to reschedule if they can’t make it work or suggest you reschedule and try again another day.
Like I said above: communication is everything. Most photographers will understand that kiddos have days where they just won’t be able to turn on a smile.
Sicknesses should always be taken seriously and shoots should be rescheduled if your child is ill.
8. Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy the Session
You’ve done the hard work to ensure your family looks great, is well fed, and you even have your child’fs favorite sweet treat in your bag in case you need a bribe. Now, let the photographer direct the shoot. They may ask you to dance behind the camera or play peek-a-boo. Have fun with it and project your confidence onto the photographer.
You’ve hired your photographer because they are an experienced professional and you love their work. They will have some tricks up their sleeve to achieve the beautiful images that led you to them in the first place.
Photo shoots should be fun. While this list may feel like a lot to digest, if you are able to accomplish the above, you increase the likelihood of a successful shoot. Not only will you have amazing family photos, you will have created a wonderful experience and fun memories for the people you love most.