How many photos do you have where your toddler actually smiles?
Yes, trying to take a family portrait is probably one of the most frustrating things for both you & your child. Let’s be honest: They don’t smile on cue.
So arranging a family shoot comes with some stress factors. It costs money, you need the weather to be perfect & you need everyone to work together.
Unfortunately, children can be like the weather: Uncontrollable. But there is hope. I put together a few tips to help you make your next photoshoot more pleasant for your child and everyone involved.
Watch the Clock
Your child has a routine so let’s respect that. Don’t try to take pictures half an hour before your child’s nap time even if this is the time he or she is usually the happiest. You know crankiness is on its way. Why not try it 15 minutes after your child usually wakes up to ensure you’ll have a well rested happy little one?
What a Clown
Ask a friend, uncle or nanny to stick around during the photoshoot especially if you know your child is usually happy & friendly around this person. Let them play around & tell jokes to create a fun atmosphere for your child. This will help your child feel at ease.
Don’t be too hard on your kid or yourself. Your child will feel your tension and mimic what they see in you.
And avoid being too formal. The most beautiful pictures are usually the ones taken without specific poses or pretence. If your children want to play with the dog let them. It will make the most beautiful memories & photos in the end.
Pick Your Child’s Favorite Spot
Try to do the photoshoot somewhere you know your child will feel right at home. Outdoor areas usually work great as kids can run and play instead of feeling confined.
Note: Make sure the area is child friendly if you’re not doing it at home. You don’t want the extra stress of running after your child if there’s an open swimming pool or a cliff they can fall off.
Eat & Be Merry
Don’t expect your child to perform well on an empty stomach. Like you, your child needs a proper meal before the shoot & make sure to pack some snacks for the day. Avoid sugary drinks and food as this will just make them hyper active.
Select the Right Photographer
Do some research & ask around about the photographer you have in mind. It won’t work if you get a photographer with great skills but no love or patience for children. Your photographer should be able to interact with your child & make him or her feel comfortable.
Here’s something I love to see: Some of the best pictures are taken of children’s expressions when asked certain questions by photographers.
Hold on To That
Give your child something to hold onto. This will keep his or her hands busy & prevent them from fidgeting. An object also creates a sense of security which will help them relax.
Will it all go perfectly? No. You never know what the day will bring. But you can be prepared for most of it. And here’s my final tip: Decide beforehand that you’ll work your way around it.
If your child feels like it’s simply a fun family outing it’ll show in the pictures. And who knows, the picture of you running after little Johnny to comb his hair might just be your favorite picture of all time. You can’t control the weather, but you can dance in the rain.