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How to Prepare Kids for their Photo Session
For me as a photographer, I'm not bothered by kids’ behavior…from those that run wild to others that are super camera shy. It’s all part of who the kids are and capturing their unique personalities is what I’m striving for at every session. But as a mom during a photo session it’s STRESSFUL!!! I get it. You’ve done all the work of booking the photographer, picking everyone’s outfits, and dragging your husband there. You want the experience to be fun and the portraits to turn out amazing. Here are a couple of quick tips to make that happen:
TIPS FOR PREPARING THE KIDS:
1. Make sure kids are comfortable in what they are wearing. If your child hates what they are wearing it’s going to show in your portraits. That may mean ditching that adorable bow tie, or hair accessory that just makes the outfit perfect…trust me, happy kids make better photos than accessories. Also, dress with the weather in mind, having a child that is too hot or cold is just going to make them cranky. Don't forget to lay out all of your outfits the week before to make sure they coordinate, aren't missing anything, and most importantly, still fit well.
2. Have everyone fed and bring extra snacks. It’s hard to calm down hangry kids! Make sure they’ve had plenty to eat before arriving and bring lots of extra snacks. Try to bring snacks that are small and not messy, like cheerios.
3. Outdoor Session? Bring lots of water! There's nothing worse than getting dehydrated from being outside on a hot day, don't forget a water bottle for everyone in the family.
4. Talk to your kids ahead of time. Give your kids a heads up before the day of the session about what we’ll be doing and talk to them about how much fun it’s going to be. If your child is old enough, set the expectation of how you would like them to behave during the session so they are not surprised.
5. Let your child smile naturally! Ok parents…this is a big one!!! Resist the urge to say things like “Don’t smile like that, give me a real smile”. The best way to get a ‘real smile’ is to actually make your child laugh or smile. So instead of telling them how they should look I focus on being silly and eliciting genuine emotions from them.
6. Bribes and Rewards. Bribes are an excellent way to have children behave nicely during a portrait session. Lollipops, toys, ice cream afterwards…anything that you child finds exciting and can be rewarded with after the session is a great way to get them to comply with all of the things we ask them to do during their time with us. Just remember to keep it positive, we want to keep them smiling, not getting upset. Try saying "We have lollipops after this, so can you make a silly face for the picture", don't say "If you don't listen, I am taking the lollipops away!"
7. Stay Positive and have fun! Your kids will pick up on your mood so try to take some deep breaths and relax and enjoy the experience. Nothing needs to be perfect. I’m capturing your family just as you are at this point in time.
Here is a wonderful example of a beautiful family that had such a great sessions. Much of the credit has to been handed over to mom…handling 3 kids is not an easy task when you are trying to stay calm, cool and collected during a portrait session. But she did a great job preparing and you can see it in the beautiful images we captured that day.
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