9. Bring your A Game. Bring all those tricks that you KNOW will make your kids smile. A favorite toy? A silly game? The tickle monster? Bring 'em. Encourage them to sing or tell a story or talk about their fun weekend or trip to see Gramma- anything to get them talking and smiling!
Tickles always get the smiles!
8. Let your child run the show. Now, there are certainly limits here, but stay with me. An hour is an extremely long time for a young child or toddler to sit and follow directions while her parents and some stranger with a camera act ridiculous in order to get her to smile. If she wants to get down out of your arms and pick flowers or dig for clams in the sand, or hunt for bugs, let her. Your photographer will follow her, and it could result in some beautiful images. This is where their imaginations come to life- when they're wild and free. I guarantee, after they've had a few minutes to pretend you're all on a pirate ship, they'll be more relaxed and willing to listen to follow posing direction from your photographer.
Let them be explore!
7. Let your child interact with your photographer. I know a lot of parents come to sessions feeling like they already know how their child is going to act. You're worried about tantrums and inattentiveness, but humor me here. Give the photographer a shot to get to know your child. Let him decide if he trusts her. Let them talk and play and be silly, even if it means taking a break from shooting, and you'll have a much better chance of getting smiles out of him.
Let them make a new friend!
6. Take a break. Sessions usually last anywhere from an hour, to two hours depending on the lighting present, and how everyone is feeling. If you need to take a break to just sit and chill or let kiddos stretch their legs, or grab a drink of water, or let the baby nurse, you can. Most photographers plan for these types of breaks because it makes a world of difference! Plus, those breaks can sometimes turn into the sweetest moments...
Can you tell I love these candid moments?
5. Bring snacks and bribes! Shoots are often scheduled around dinner time or after, plus, these shoots can really take a lot of energy! So bring some healthy snacks and some water and everyone will stay satisfied. I also encourage bribes... I know, I know... but just for ONE hour, your kids will do anything for candy or the promise of ice cream or a toy at the end of the session. It works!
Special treats are always a winner!
4. Do. Not. Match. Please? Although it's easy to put everyone in white polos and khakis, please... help me help you! If everyone comes dressed in the same outfit, the resulting images will have very little visual interest. The intent is to coordinate rather than match exactly!
Coordination- not matching- is key!
3. Remember that it's just an hour. You can do anything for an hour. Give all the energy you can muster. Make the kids laugh. Be silly. Be completely ridiculous! And your family will follow suit! The smiles will be genuine and the fun will be too!
You can do anything for an hour!
2. Trust me. Your photographer wants you to look good. She wouldn't make you do anything or pose anywhere that is unflattering or looks silly. Let go of your preconceived notion of the "perfect" family photo- everyone posed, looking at the camera, and smiling. You'll probably get some of those, but those candid images will be the ones you look back on and swoon over! So don't worry if your photographer tells you not to look at the camera. Focus on what's right in front of you- your beautiful family- and your images will be perfect!
"I promise, it'll be great!"
1. If you love your session, let us know! We love hearing your feedback and certainly thrive on any sort of love you show! You could even do one better, and share with your friends how much you loved your session!