1) Tell your kiddos about your photographer. Begin talking with them about their new photographer friend a few days in advance. This is especially helpful for kids that get nervous around new people, as well as helpful for kiddos that do best when prepped for what new situations/activities will be like.
2) Go with the flow. As much as you might be tempted to tell your kiddo what to do once we are taking photos – try your best to leave it to your photographer to give the direction. Too many voices at once asking a child to do something is confusing & overwhelming for them. And if your kiddo doesn’t do what your photographer asks – if your photographer still keeps taking photos, trust that they know it’s best to follow the kiddos lead in this situation. Well seasoned child photographers know that sometimes the best photos come from following the child’s lead, even if it wasn’t what was originally planned. If your photographer needs your help in convincing your kiddo to do something, they will ask you to take over in that area 🙂
3) Avoid disciplining your child during a photo session when possible. I know, you want to raise a thoughtful, kind, smart, team player. And I fully support teaching your kiddos about their actions & how to communicate & listen & be gentle. However, making a child feel guilty, sad, or embarrassed during a photo session isn’t helpful for our goal – to capture a happy kiddo & their bond with family members.
For this reason, I suggest redirecting attention, playing along & following your kiddos lead & interests as much as possible.
Know your photographer isn’t judging you if you don’t “discipline” when you normally would. Family photographers know photo sessions aren’t everyday & we appreciate it when parents make decisions in the moment with what is best for photos in mind.
4) Bribery. Whether you use bribery often OR hardly ever – bribes for photo sessions can be extremely effective. Though the technique is to be adjusted for age appropriateness. For very young kiddos, having food on hand to give throughout the session can be helpful. Sometimes the food isn’t even used as a reward – especially for those 2 & under, handing them a few cheerios to hold in their hand is something that just keeps them still long enough to snap a few photos before they are on the move! (Something that isn’t messy & that won’t get on their face, or stain their clothing is important when offering food during a photo session. I recommend Puffs, Cheerios, Fruit snacks, Popcorn).
For older kiddos, the promise of a special food, treat, gift, or activity can be helpful. This could be as simple as “I’ll swing you in the air after you take a photo with your brother” OR as big as a trip to get ice cream after your session. As the parent, you get to make the call on what will work best.
Older siblings at newborn sessions: If your “older siblings” are still pretty young at the time of their baby sister or brother’s newborn session, I recommend only keeping them on site during the photos that they are needed for (sibling photos & full family photos), after that – have your partner, a family member, friend, or baby sitter take them to do something fun while we finish up photos with your newborn.
Many parents get nervous about how their children will behave during a photo session. I’m here to help you prepare your little ones & yourself for the best, most joyful photo experience possible! Below are some tips & tricks to support your little ones & yourself: