3 tips to help your family session run smoothly

Working with kids! You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it! Do I really need to repeat the saying? Ok fine. For the people in the back! They say never work with children or animals. Whose they? (Another question for another time!) Have you ever been hesitant to book in family photos because you are worried your kids will run riot, do that were camera face smile and waste all the money you invested in capturing your little angles? I get that!! I said to myself we would never invest in a family shoot until our kids were old enough not to ruin it. In my mind that meant waiting until my oldest child was about 10 years old (she is currently 6) HOW CRAZY IS THAT?!?! WAITING ANOTHER 4 YEARS TO PAY A PROFESSIONAL FOR A FAMILY PHOTO?? JUST BECAUSE IT MIGHT WORK OUT BETTER??? How many moments would I miss out on in between? Crazy talk Eileen!

When you hire a professional family portrait photographer they should know (and expect) that when little (and sometimes big) kids are involved, it’s not going to go to plan. you kid hasn’t had a day sleep in months and yet, on photo day, he falls asleep. When its time to wake up … it doesn’t happen gracefully and before you know it, you’ve turned up late with a child who needs to be carried surfboard style from the car. Or they need a nap and decide that family photo day is the day to try and do without one. As parents, we freak out and we get stressed. But it’s ok. Your photographer should know how to still get those sweet candid moments, how to coax a smile out from a deadpan “i-will-have-nothing-to-do-with-that-camera-lady” face and how to help you, as the parents to enjoy the session and make a family memory out of it. Here are my 3 tips to help your family session run smoothly!!! Enjoy!

3 Tips

1: Book your session when it best suits your kids.
Got early risers? Maybe an early morning shoot is the best for you. Early morning light is just as beautiful as sunset golden hour and chances are it will be less windy!
Do your kids still nap? Book a session after scheduled nap time (remember to make time for getting them to dress and travel to the location!)
Maybe an early picnic dinner and then photos after is a great way to incorporate a lifestyle aspect to your photos.

This photo was taken about 40 mins into the session.
This little man had decided that photo day was too exciting to have a sleep. Subsequently he was pretty upset most of the shoot. Poor guy!
And yet, in the last 10 mins he give me all the smiles he can, all unprompted (but delightfully encouraged.)

2: Fill them up!
Make sure your kids have had something to eat before the session. Full bellies make for full smiles. I also tell parents to bring snacks with them for the kids. These either get used as bribes or as a distraction while Mum and Dad have their own photos together!

While all this is happening ….

These boys are tucking into a snack box – wonderfully distracted so we could take some of their parents!
Occasionally they run into the shot because … who wouldn’t!!!

3: Stress Less and go with the flow
You can set all the expectations with your kids in the world but a new location can set of curiosity in the most well-behaved kid and they get up to mischief. Often, if the parents are stressed, the kids feel the energy and have a hard time feeling comfortable in front of the camera and play up on purpose. There is a very limited chance a kid will produce a natural smile if mum and dad are getting cross with them for not doing what they are supposed to do. My advice – go with the flow and try to not stress about your kid’s behaviour. I get it! I have 3 kids! I know how hard it is to get them all looking, smiling naturally and interested in having a photo taken (and they get LOTS of practice!!) Sometimes I’ll ask the parents to go out of site so I can work with the kids on my own and that can help them loosen up.

The best part … treats for having photos taken!! I love the girls concentration as mum opens a packet of deliciousness!

I hope these tips have helped!! If you have any questions just click here to head over to my contact form and drop me a line! I’m excited to hear from you and help you out any way I can!

x Eileen

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