Prepping Kids for Your Family Photo Shoot | Northern California
“Will my child(ren) cooperate during the family photo shoot?” This is probably one of the most stressful questions a parent can ask him or herself. I can see how it worries parents because they paid for a photographer and then their child has a melt down during the session. From my experience, here are some tips that help kiddos get ready for family photo shoots.
Mention Nap Time to Your Photographer
If you have a child who naps, mention this to your photographer. I normally ask about nap times and adjust the session schedule to avoid the “cranky time” kiddos experience before going down for their nap. This may mean that your family photo shoot time will not be during golden hour (1 hour before sunset) but a good photographer should be able to adjust and recommend an alternate time and place that has great light to accommodate your child’s nap schedule.
Talk to your kids about the shoot
I encourage parents to talk to their kids about the shoot before the session date. Maybe mention the family photo shoot as the reason why you and your family are choosing/shopping for new clothes. If parents set expectations and build it up as a fun thing to do, it helps kids view the experience positively. For older children, let them know how you feel about this shoot and how you would like their cooperation. Within reason, you can have the older kids choose their shoot outfits.
Be as Full and Rested as Possible
You want your family to be as full and rested as possible before the shoot. Feeling sleepy or hungry during the session can be an Express Ticket to Cranky Town for the little ones, big kids and even the adults! Having a snack before leaving for the session should be a priority in your photo shoot prep.
Praising Good Listeners
For Preschoolers to around 3rd graders, “Good Listener” is such a powerful phrase. They want to be called good listeners! Aside from telling the kids that I am looking for good listeners, if parents allow it, I let them know good listeners get a prize for listening during the session. I encourage parents to bring candies or crackers that motivate their kids best or set up a post shoot treat like ice cream for good listeners. I normally have a ziplock bag of snack sized chocolate with me during shoots. It is a treat bag for everyone, even the adults and big kids!
Give your children and yourself GRACE!
At the end of the day, the little ones are kids and will behave like kids! If you have done as much as you can preparing them for the session, give them and yourself grace. It is ok! I try to incorporate a lot of play and movement for families with younger children to keep the little ones engaged. I also try to do breaks or break out groups to give the little one a chance to regroup. If some of your photos have your little one crying or cranky, that is ok. Part of photography is documenting how your family is in a particular season in life.
Want to work with me?
I hope these tips reduce your stress and empower you as you prepare for your family shoot! Want to work with me? Click the Contact link in the menu to set up your FREE Consult Call with me! Check out more of my work at giachongphotography.com.