It's that time of year! Family photo time!
Time to get the annual family photo session taken for your Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, or whichever Holiday you and your family celebrate, so you can put it on your Holiday card and mail it off to family and friends in December.
Most parents love and dread having their family photo taken. They love it because those photos create memories of how their kids (and themselves) look and acted that particular year.
But let's be real, it can be a tad stressful on Mom. Since 99% of the time, Mom is the one finding the photographer, booking the photo session, and gathering outfits for the family. Not to mention bribing, threatening, and begging the kids to behave, smile, and act nice during their photo session.
It's pretty common. I can't tell you how many times I've had Moms (and Dads) stressing about how to get their kids to cooperate for their family photo. And with four kids of my own, I completely understand and can relate.
So with the busy season of photography starting, I compiled a quick list to try and make everything go a bit more smoothly at your next family photo shoot.
- Make sure all your kids are well fed. Yes, it sounds like their pets, but it works! Kids who are hungry are generally not willing to cooperate. Does the term hangry sounds familiar? So make sure they eat a good meal or heavy snack before the photo session.
- Kids should be comfortable in the clothes they are wearing. If that gorgeous shirt/dress/skirt itches and irritates your child's skin, it's going to show in the photos. If your little girl doesn't normally wear a hair barrette or headband, but you want it on her for the photos, chances are she's going to constantly be playing with it or taking it off. If you're kids are comfortable in their clothing, they'll be more relaxed and willing to cooperate.
- Bring snacks! If you have young children, snacks are always a good motivator for them. As a parent, I know I can feed my child a full meal and 30 minutes later they'll be hungry again. It's normal. So having non-messy snacks handy during a photo shoot works wonders!
- Talk to your kids before hand about your photo session. Surprising your kids with a family photo session never goes over well. Tell them what's going on and what to expect at the photo session. If they know your expectations from the beginning, they're more likely to cooperate.
- Bribes and Rewards. As a parent, I'm not above bribing my kids sometimes. Is it ideal? No. Does it work? Heck yes! Promising them ice cream or a special treat afterwards usually gets kids to cooperate better during a photo shoot. My kids love Dum Dums (even the older ones), so I'll grab a handful and promise them one when we're done.
- Allow your children to smile naturally. I can't tell you how many times I've had parents behind me tell their kids to say cheese. Although their children smile, it's not natural. It's my job as a photographer to photograph your kids natural expressions. I promise I can do it even on a bad day. Plus, they're natural smile is a lot more photogenic than a 'cheesy' smile.
- Just relax! If you as a parent are tense, your children are going to feel it and be tense too. Family photo sessions can be a lot of fun and interactive. A good photographer will guide you naturally through your session and have fun as the same time. Don't sweat it, I've got ya!
Although these suggestions are more of a guideline than hard rules, they'll help you and your family get through your Family Photo Session with ease. Just enjoy the moment and allow us photographers to capture your families memories!