7 Tips to get kids to cooperate for a photo session!

It's that time of year!  Family photo time!

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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 and Dad.  It’s tough coordination schedules, games. Then you have to find a photographer who’s work you love, book your the photo session, and gather outfits for the family.  Not to mention bribing, threatening, and begging the kids to behave, smile, and act nice during their photo session.

Sound familiar?

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

I still have a few spots available for Fall sessions. Email me at emilyingallsphotography@gmail.com or contact me here to book your photo session today!

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Family Photo Session | Pflugerville, TX

Large family reunions are one of my favorite types of sessions to photograph!

I come from large family.  My mom was one of six, and my dad is one of three.  I have somewhere around 20 cousins and more than a dozen aunts and uncles.  Add in the fact most of my cousins have children, and let's just say a family get together for us becomes large, loud, and fun very quickly!

When a family asks me if I'm ok photographing close to 20 people for a family reunion, I always laugh a little to myself.  Mainly because large families don't scare me off at all.  I love shooting them!

A couple of weeks ago, I photographed this family's reunion during a hot, humid July day.  They had family coming in from out of state for a vacation during the summer, and Mom/Grandma wanted photos of her children and grandchildren. And to make it even better, they had Great Grandma there!  Four generations in one photo!

If you ever get the chance to have a generational picture taken by a professional photographer, please have the photo taken.  You'll never regret having a professional photographs taken!  You will treasure them for a lifetime!

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Emily Ingalls is a professional photographer. She specializes in family and child portraiture, newborn lifestyle photography, and commercial photography.

The power of the printed photograph

When I was growing up, there was no such thing as digital photos.  Everyone had a film camera with 24 or 36 exposure shots on it.  I took the photos on with my camera, dropped off the roll to get developed, then waited 2 weeks to get the roll back to see how my photos turned out.  There was no instant display or multiple shots to get the perfect image.  You had one, maybe two chances, to get your picture, then crossed your fingers and prayed all was well.

And the excitement of going through all the prints when the roll was finally ready to be picked up was amazing!  Sifting through the photos, laughing at all the cuteness or ridiculous faces you captured on film was priceless.

Nowadays, we take pictures with our phones, see them instantly, then retake if we decide the photo was off or someone wasn't smiling or we just don't like the way we look.  And I'll admit, I am 100% guilty of doing this as well.

But today we tend to forget the most important part of the whole reason for taking photos, and that is the printing of them.

What's the point of capturing your family's memories if you're not going to display them for everyone to see?  The answer is, sadly, not much.

Printing photos is one of the most important things you can do for yourself, your kids, and the next generation.  Seeing a photo on a wall, book shelf, or even a fireplace mantel gives a whole new meaning to keep your memories alive.

At my parent's house, my mom has a couple of dozen photo albums full of 4x6 or the old school instant Polaroid prints where you can write on the bottom of the photo (you know you remember those old instant Polaroid photos that you had to shake to dry off the ink and hope you accidentally touch and mess it up).  Anyway, I love those old photo albums.  I love looking at my childhood on print, take the photos out, and have a trip down memory lane.

I want that for my own children and (fingers crossed) their children one day.  To show them the prints of photos of their childhood, awkward years, and fun everyday memories to share and reminisce.  My own children love going through the photos I've had printed and figuring out how old they were and what were they doing. I just have to get those photos into an album, and I'll be set!

I love the fact as a photographer I can offer my clients the digital prints of their families and newborns so they can print as many photos as they want.  I want they to print their family photos and share them.  Not just keep them on a hard drive for years to come.  It's awesome to see my clients send me photos of their home wall galleries and see their photos on display.

It saddens my heart to think the next generation is losing out of the power of the printed photograph.  Nothing makes a house a home like seeing your families history on the walls with photos.

Whether it's a snapshot you took on your phone or your family photos you had taken by a professional photographer, print them out!  Display them!  Put them in albums for everyone to look back upon and remember the fun times!

And if anyone ever needs a recommendation on where to have your photos printed, email me at emilyingallsphotography@gmail.com  I'll be happy to recommend a some consumer labs to you!

My family Christmas photo from last year! 

My family Christmas photo from last year! 

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Emily Ingalls is a professional photographer in Round Rock, Texas.  Emily specializes in family and children portraiture, family lifestyle photography, and newborn lifestyle photography.  She loves traveling, coffee, and martial arts.

My Crazy Summer... home construction, playing chauffer and more!

Hello!  It's now July, and I feel this summer is both flying by and crawling at a snail's pace.  

I've spent the entire month of June under construction.  Now me, personally.  But my house.  My husband and I have been in our home since 2013.  We went bought it my biggest issue was 'the pantry'.  I mean it was small, like tiny.  It was less than 2x3ft.  And seeing as my family has 4 children, three of those being boys, it was definitely not big enough.

I had food and other sundries in the laundry room, taking up cabinet space in the kitchen, and the coat closet, no joke.  Yes, I had stuff that should be in the pantry in the coat closet.  It was quite frustrating for 4 years going into various rooms to make lunches for school.

Finally, we found an awesome contractor to work with, and the construction began.  Not only did we expand our pantry to triple the size, but we also closed in the formal living room made it into an office and separated the new office and formal dining room.  Check out Amthor Construction and talk to Dane Amthor.  He's awesome!!

I can't even tell how excited I am to have this finished!  It was a little bit of a living hell (for me) to live in a construction zone when I like everything clean, put away, and organized.  But now it's done, and I have an awesome pantry!

Now the pantry, office and dining room is done!  I have an actual office with a separate desk and computer from my husband (yeah!).  I love my husband, but having to share a computer and desk with him drives to a little nuts.  Especially when I have to work and he has to work (cause he's in the tech industry), it didn't work out well.  Now, we have separate desk and computers, and I'm a very happy wife.  Anyway, I'm still here and alive!

Between the construction, the kids being home for summer, being a chauffer between camps, activities and general summer stuff, I'm not just getting time to sit down and write.  And I can't begin to tell you how much I've missed writing and blogging.

I'll be back soon with more writing and more wit!

I can't be the only one with a crazy summer going on.  Tell me how your summer has been!
Have you gone on vacation?
Are you at home with your kids?
Are you like me and have been playing chauffer?

 

One of the many lunches we ate upstairs while the construction was going on.

One of the many lunches we ate upstairs while the construction was going on.

It's moments like these I wish I could bottle up and review when I hear them fighting.

It's moments like these I wish I could bottle up and review when I hear them fighting.

Proof we did make it to the pool a few times!

Proof we did make it to the pool a few times!

Smash Cake In-home Lifestyle Photo Session | Round Rock, TX

This little man turned 1 year old!

This little man had a blast making a huge mess at his first birthday party surrounded by his grandparents, parents, and aunts.  I was able to photograph him before the cake capturing his 1 year old milestone photos.  After his 1 year milestone photos, I shot a few family photos.  Then the cake came out!

Little man had no idea what to do with it after first.  His Grandma and Aunts helped him out after he tried to put out the birthday candle with his fingers.  The cake ended up everywhere, but he had a lot of fun making a huge mess.  And I had a blast photographing his birthday cake smash!