Trepidation. I can see it in the eyes of every mom that gathers her family and begins the walk from the car to meet me at our chosen session location. After all the preparation involved in choosing outfits and getting everyone clean and dressed, you finally arrive at the photo session and it begins to happen. Those perfectly dressed little angels begin to act like...GASP...KIDS. Number 1 goes deadpan and refuses to crack even a hint of a smile. Meanwhile number 2 can't keep his finger out of his nose and is missing a shoe, plus you are pretty sure number 3 just ingested some of the goose poop that comes with the territory of being beside a pond. You are desperately trying to smile but you are absolutely certain that the photographer thinks your kids are terrible, horrible, little people and you are so embarrassed that you want to give up and go home.
I feel you tired Mama. Here are some ideas to help you survive a photo session!
#1 Embrace the Crazy!
It happens to every single one of us. I believe 100% that children are a gift and blessing from God. I also believe that these little people are full of BIG emotions and we have to gently train them through all their years of childhood. I have two young children and am knee deep in tantrums and chaos every single day. Those big emotions I mentioned show up countless times throughout our day. Need some examples? Sometimes I cut the sandwich wrong....tears. I parked the matchbox car in the wrong spot in an imaginary parking lot...agony. I took the dog food out of her hand moments before it was to go in her mouth...writhing and pain and oh the tears! I've even endured one of those lovely tantrums that start inside a public place and continue the 5000 miles it takes to walk to the car while holding a baby and half dragging by the hand the poor little soul who has lost it. So if your child arrives at our session and falls apart because his sister looked at him the wrong way, don't fret! Tears and tantrums don't worry me. We just carry on and pray for it to pass. Honestly I've been blessed that all the children I have photographed have done really well, even if they had to warm up to the idea of getting their photo taken.
#2 Don't Be Afraid to Let them Be Kids
I completely understand the desire to have a nice family photo with everyone smiling for the camera, and I strive to get those shots in every single session. But I also love when the kids get distracted and play a little and I can capture them being natural and silly. Most of my favorite photos of my own chidden and families that I photograph are not perfectly posed. Instead I prefer the images that I capture that show unique little personalities and help me remember the quirky things children do at different stages in life.
#3 Be Patient!
It only takes an instant to capture a great photo. Sometimes the subjects of my photos make me work for that smile, but if I can get them to laugh for just a moment, it can turn into something beautiful. Don't believe me? Here are some shots of my own little darlings that were taken moments apart.
And two shots of my cute nephews that were also taken moments apart.
So What Can You Do to Make a Photo Session Go Well?
You should never expect your kids to be perfect little robots. However, there are a few things you can do to set us up for a successful session.