I am sure that one of the main parents' concern in a family photo session is how their kids will behave.
Well, you are not alone. As a dad, I also think about how my kids will behave when our next family photo session comes.
Most kids have their own world and some days they are in a great mood and some others not that much. Preparing your kids for a family photo session starts way ahead of your actual family photo session date. But that is ok, here I will list a few things that help prepare your kids for your upcoming family photo session.
FEW DAYS BEFORE YOUR SESSION
When you select your kid's outfit, make sure to try on them to see if they feel comfortable and if it looks nice too.
This is great because you can avoid a headache during the session when you start seeing your kid ripping off the outfit because it does not feel good. Plan ahead with that. That is really important that you select an outfit that they like and they can move freely. Kids like to run and explore, so let them be. Besides all that, you will have time to change the outfit in case something goes wrong.
For the toddlers, if our session time is during his/her nap, try to adjust slightly that a few days before so they can be at their best at that time. I feel horrible when parents have to wake them up and they are so sleepy and tired.
So, here are some bullet points:
Try the outfit on your kids way ahead of the photo session day.
If you are getting new shoes, buy a 1/2 or one size bigger than what they wear.
Talk about what is going to happen but don't tell them that you are doing a photoshoot. Kids usually don't want that and they might associate it with something not fun. Tell them, that you guys will have some fun at a trail, park, beach and you will have someone taking pictures of it.
Let them be part of the outfit selection. Pick their favorite colors (keeping the styling and complementary colors under control), that might help them be motivated for the shoot.
Remember to select an outfit that goes with the season. Don't stack layers after layers during summer when they start to get too uncomfortable.
A FEW HOURS BEFORE YOUR FAMILY PHOTO SESSION
Ok, the day is here and you hope that your kids will behave and be fine during the entire session.
Some things that really affect the mood of a child, doesn't matter the age, is the energy that you are in that day. If you are stressed out trying to make sure everyone is dressed and rushing to the car to go to the session, it won't be very healthy for them. THEIR ENERGY IS YOUR ENERGY.
First and foremost, remain calm and be patient with everyone.
I know that this might be hard but try having fun getting dressed. Put on some music and play games to get dressed.
Make sure to start getting dressed in a timely matter so you don't get frustrated and agitated trying to make sure everyone is ready and not getting late for your shoot.
We never know if your kid will jump in that mud right at the bat. So, bring extra clothing, usually a second outfit, in case your kid trash the first one. That can be for the whole family too. After that mud, they can jump on mommy's dress, and then you know...
IN THE CAR
Another thing that will affect the mood of a kid is the time in the car to get into the photoshoot location. In case you will be driving quite a bit to get to the location, plan your estimated time of arrival at least 20 minutes before we start the session. That way the kids can stretch, run and spend some energy after sitting for too long.
Talk to your kids about the photoshoot. Ask them who will be the most outgoing during the session. Who will be the best listeners and who will be the funniest one. Try to engage them in the session.
Bring a small cooler with water, snacks, fruits to keep them happy.
DURING THE PHOTO SESSION
The first thing that I suggest is to let them be. Don't worry about your kids running around and not doing what you are asking. They will settle, remember that you want that good and positive energy so they have fun. Most of the time, the kids are the ones leading the session. We go with their flow so we can capture amazing smiles and candid shots.
Let that difficult task to me, I have been doing this for some time and I have some methods that I am pretty sure I will get your kid's attention.
It is nice to keep close by a small bag with some snacks and water. Avoid too much sugar. I had a session where the parents were giving their kids candies and it turned out that they became too energized. lol.
When I start taking pictures focus on interacting visually with your kids. and let me do the talking if we need. That is because sometimes we only have a split of seconds to capture a good expression from them and we want the rest of the family smiling.
With the newborns, we will stop for breastfeeding and for diaper change if needed. It is important that your little one feel comfortable fed and dry.
Finally, the most important thing is to let them have fun. The candid moments are the ones that really make a portrait stand out. So, don't get frustrated if your kids are being kids running around. As long as they are in a good mood and having fun, that is what matters.