Sessions with Littles!
Many parents I work with stress about how their child will act during a photo session. As a mom of two little ones I totally understand! You spent a lot of time planning for photos with outfit choices, organizing everyone to be ready, and to arrive at the location on time. Maybe you took off work and you spent money on the session, so you obviously want the best results. I am going to say this right off the bat: This post may not ease your stress one bit and for that I am sorry, but little ones are unpredictable. As a parent you know if they don’t want to do something chances are they aren’t going to and IF they do, they sure as heck won’t do it with a genuine smile on their face. BUT there may be a few things that can make photos fun for everyone!
1. Talk about the session ahead of time and build it up to be a fun experience. Ask them who they can’t wait to share their pictures with or get a fun frame for their room to put their awesome picture in. Also, talk with your photographer about what makes your little one laugh, smile, or smirk. A fun connection from the start of the session can make a world of difference.
2. If the child or children are old enough, get them involved. Give them choices on what to wear or how to fix their hair. During the session, give them choices where they want sit or stand, who’s hand they want to hold, etc...
3. Ditch the Pinterest board of expectations! That may sound harsh but setting those expectations based on someone else’s family and session may set you up to be disappointed in your own. Pinterest is great as a starting point for ideas and possible poses, but that is where the expectations should end and where your family will begin to create the perfect session (the one that represents who you are as a family!).
4. Make sure the little ones have eaten, are rested, and are dressed for the weather. If they are tired and uncomfortable no one will have fun. You know your child best. Discuss your schedule with the photographer to find a time that creates the best chance for a happy child. With that thought, your photographer may be limited on locations or set ups due to lighting conditions (just something to be aware of) :)
5. Be sure to allow time before the session for your child to get familiar with the photographer and location. YOU know your child! If they are shy, hesitant, or fearful, skip the mini sessions where the pressure is on to perform perfect in a specific 20 minute time period. Also, once the child has been good and the photographer has a great family photo, let them be done! I have yet to have a little one (or some adults for that matter) that provide genuine smiles for a solid hour.
6. My last tip…roll with what happens! If the parents stress and get tense, the little ones can feel that. If the parents aren’t relaxed and having fun, how can the kiddos be expected to do so? Threats, brides, and other sorts of “persuasion” during the session RARELY produce genuine smiles that make for great photos. Some parents’ favorite pictures are the outtakes.
Sessions with little ones are unpredictable to say the least, but can also be fun! Capturing and preserving memories of the fun faces they make or they way they protest (aka throwing a fit) may not make you laugh during a photo session but may be priceless in the future! So, Moms and Dads, relax and enjoy the session yourselves. Everything will fall into place!