Getting kids to cooperate during a photo session.
Kids are so unpredictable. Parents are supposed to be the ones “in control”. But it feels like such an illusion at times. Sometimes they just do whatever they want to, especially when they feel, how stressed we are. After seeing lots of families and seeing how they deal with the stress with a camera that is aimed at them just magnifies everything. Here are some things parents can do, to help everyone to walk away smiling.
Do not bribe them. Especially during the session you should not bribe them with any kind of foods or drinks. Some parents bribe them with ice cream after the session, a lot of times they just whine about it.
Distractions work wonders. I am a big fan of capturing connections between family members. Think about a favourite game to play, dads can throw them up in the air, moms are always great for cuddles. Siblings can tell silly secrets all they want. I want to see your raw emotions and we will play some question-answer games if non of your games work.
Don't say cheese. Kids get really squinty eyes and scrunched faces when they say cheese. Let the photographer just simply get their attention and snap away. Children are naturally pretty happy and it often comes out in their eyes, and not necessarily their smiles.
Favourite toys or a blanket. These are great but they have to be something you don’t mind being in the pictures. Bring it along, it’s part of who they are at this stage in their life. Some kids are really good about “hiding” their treasure once it’s time to snap the picture. Kids like to find sticks, rocks, or pick flowers. It only adds to the story.
Take breaks. Let kids be kids and let them do kid things. You don't want them to mess up their outfits but you also don't want to end the session early because you have bored and crazy kids. You get a much more natural and candid look from children when they do their most favourite thing: Playing! A lot of my sessions especially at the beach end up in the water and those are the best pictures!
Just ask. Sometimes simply asking a kid to do something, they will gladly do it. I sometimes ask kids to kiss their parents or siblings and they are more than willing to comply. They love, we all love hugs and kisses.
Keep them happy. Forced smiles are never fun and you don't want to put up pictures on your walls with them either. If something is not working, pick them up, comfort them and we will move on to something else. Going with the flow is part of my style. I know things don't always go as planned. Be resilient. Be flexible. Be forgiving. Your session will happen with smiles when everyone comes with the mindset ready for family play time.