One commonly asked question that I get is, "How do I prepare for my shoot with kids?" I am myself a parent to a 3 year old and will say upfront that kids are unpredictable! You can do all the planning in the world and they may still end up stubbornly refusing to smile or look at the camera. I always encourage parents to realize this so that while we're shooting, they aren't feeling concerned or uptight.
That all being said, there are a few general tips that I recommend when preparing for your family session.
I may or may not have to use this on my husband as well as my daughter since they both hate pictures! I have always found that a trip to the ice cream parlor or a movie night with popcorn can be great motivating factors when it comes to motivating kids! You know your kids best and can think of things they may like if they are cooperative.
2. Bring Snacks
Every single time we take family photos we have a small snack like Cheerios or fruit snacks on hand so if our daughter is struggling we can pop one in her mouth and keep her occupied for a moment. This being said, stay away from snacks that melt or make a mess!
Talking about it before hand and telling them what we will be doing helps them feel a little less anxious or confused when we get started. I always spend a few minutes getting to know everyone and let the kids get acclimated to wherever we are shooting. Letting them get their wiggles out and showing them my camera and what I will be doing have proven successful in the past.
4. Take Breaks
I always like to start by getting the full family shot right off the bat and also try to be quick and efficient, because I realize the window that kids stay engaged is small. However, I also realize that kids might need a second to run around, grab a snack, and refocus before they are able to sit still again. I am really flexible with this and plan session time/lighting with this in mind so we don't feel pressured.
After all the effort you make to get a classic, posed family photo, your kids may still struggle staying focused. This is totally normal! At times like this, I like to capture the candid moment rather than forcing the posed.
When it comes down to it, my goal is to help you preserve your precious memories. Those hands won't be little forever and those smiles will change. Please know I am here by your side and am available to discuss any plans leading up to your session so that when the day arrives, you are feeling your best! As a mom, I get it and want you to be prepared and happy with your experience!