Have you ever hired a professional photographer, spent hours deciding on the perfect coordinated family outfits, even made it to your session on time (phew!) only to have your child end up having a complete melt down?
You are definitely not alone in this situation! And I am here to help.
There are two things that make family photos and children cooperative a difficult combination. First, you have spent a considerable amount of money for an hour or two with your photographer, and you want things to go well. Due to this, you are probably feeling a little anxious or stressed. Second, it seems like the more pressure there is for a child to be at their best during a certain time frame, the less likely it is to happen.
I think the two issues are closely related and I am going to give you some tips on how to help keep this from happening to you.
1. Timing. Please do not schedule your photos during naptime! Schedule your session at a time of the day when your kiddos are typically in a good mood! Most kids are in a great mood first thing in the morning. Let’s capitalize on that! Lighting is also fantastic at that time of day.
2. Choose comfortable clothing. Your children could have a difficult time sitting still if she’s uncomfortable! And it doesn’t hurt to bring a change of clothes, just in case.
3. Feed Them! A hungry child is a cranky child. Be sure they have eaten recently and bring along some water and a little snack just in case. Sometimes a few crackers is all it takes to get things back on track.
4. Bring the Lovey. If your child starts to feel uncomfortable, sometimes the special stuffed animal or blanket will comfort them and get the show back on the road.
5. Explain. Before the session give them an explanation about what is going to happen. Sometimes some pre-session instructions can decrease warm up time. I love when parents drop me an email before our session sharing some special things about their child. A favorite sport, movie, color, etc. so that I can quickly help your child feel comfortable with me.
6. Arrive Early. By showing up to the location about 10 minutes early your child can look around and get comfortable with where they are. They might also be able to get some energy out!
7. Take Breaks. We can only expect so much, especially from toddlers. We will take some photos and then a break, some more photos, and another break. Some of the best photos happen when we aren’t trying!
8. Avoid Bribes. I hear a lot of parents bribing their children, heck, I’ve even done it myself! The issue with the bribing approach, especially
, for younger children, is that they don’t understand delayed gratification. One click later they are expecting a treat. If you don't come through a meltdown usually come next. Not to mention, a bribe implies they aren't going to enjoy the process. Family photos can be a lot of fun, and who needs a bribe to have fun?
9. Relax. This is the big one! The number one reason children have melt downs is because they can sense you are anxious. Try not to let your child know that you are nervous, anxious or stressed about the session. The more stressed you are, the more likely it is they will act out. Children are intuitive little creatures. Mine, for one, always seem to up their antics when I am already having a difficult time.
10. Don’t React. If your child does begin to have a melt-down, please do not get upset! The more you react to them being upset the worse it gets. I promise. Remain calm ask why they are feeling frustrated and what you can do to help them.
I am not sure if I just wrote an article on effective parenting or helping your family photos go well, but the two probably go hand in hand. If you want to go ahead and book a session despite being in the midst of the terrible twos, I am up for the challenge! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for information or to book your family session!
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