Mamas of littles, this one’s for you. As a toddler wrangler myself, I know the sheer terror that can fill your mind at the thought of trying to get your little one to bend to your will – especially during a photo session. After photographing families for 3 years, I’ve just about seen it all. Today, I want to alleviate some of your fear and talk to you about preparing your children for a family photo session. First, let me say that if your 3 year old wiggles out of your arms and wants to run and play during the entire session, that’s normal. Kids just want to be kids – they like to run and be active, to explore and roam around. So, before I share a few tips about prepping your kiddos for your photo session, just know that they aren’t going to be perfectly still and smile the whole time, and that’s okay. I promise you’ll end up with a gallery of images you love, even if they are wiggly or wild. Just go ahead and release the fear that they won’t be on their best behavior – they probably won’t and I’m ready for it.
Kids love feeling included, so involve them in the planning process as much as possible. Talk to them about the location you’ll be taking them to, the fact that you want them to give their best smiles and that they’ll have fun and even play some games during the session. This can help them feel excited and invested in the session, which can lead to better behavior and more natural smiles during the shoot.
Snacks can provide an opportunity to get kids to be still for a moment, and refocus. I recommend bringing along snacks that are neutral colored. We don’t want red fruit, or colorful gummies to wreck anyone’s outfits. Crackers can be a great option for older kids, and little puffs are great for babies and toddlers. I usually recommend hiding these snacks until we need them. Kids are usually excited and happy to comply at the beginning of a session, so we’ll bring out the snacks about halfway through when everyone is beginning to lose some steam.
Kids have short attention spans, so plan for breaks and downtime during the session. Sometimes we just need to stop with the posed photos and let them get their wiggles out, and this a-ok! I also will likely have them play a few games (ring around the rosie is a favorite) to let them have a break and to get some really great candid photos. So while some of the games may seem silly or like we aren’t accomplishing much, I promise they will produce some really cute photos.
Let’s face it, kids can be unpredictable. They are being asked to sit stand still by someone they don’t really know. This situation can produce behaviors that aren’t typical of your kiddo. Your attitude and energy can make a big difference in the way everyone experiences the session. Embracing the fact that they aren’t going to be perfectly still will help everyone feel less tense and have fun. Again, getting great photos is my job. You only to need to show up and let me do the work.
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