As a mom, I understand little ones and their sometimes-resistance to family photos. Some kiddos come into their sessions with giant grins, do every pose without complaint, and cry when they leave because they’re having a great time. Others, well…it’s a little trickier. You may be looking at the sweet family on the left here, and thinking your child would never cooperate for that shot. I always tell families that they don’t need to worry about getting the “perfect” photo, because that’s my job. I want them to leave with happy memories as well as beautiful portraits. Here’s a few tips for help the less-than-thrilled little ones have a great time (and keep mom and dad’s sanity, too)!
-Don’t wait for the perfect time. I’m going to be sharing more later this week about not waiting to do family photos and why it’s important, but I also wanted to say, don’t wait until your littles can “sit quietly and be perfect”. It just won’t happen. Go into your session with an open mind and a flexible spirit and you CAN get the photos you want! Waiting robs you of the chance to document your family today as they are, and capture the growing-up years.
-Treasure the way your kids are RIGHT NOW. I know it’s not easy, and maybe a silly grin or a themed photoshoot isn’t what you’ve always dreamed of, but truly, those are the memories you will wish you had captured in years to come! I’ve done everything from train themed sessions to more classic styles, and I know those mamas are so glad they went ahead and did those sessions. All the expressions and wiggles amount to photos that truly capture their little one at that time in their life; memories that are too quickly forgotten in the hustle and bustle of life.
-On to the practical: There are things you can do to make your session go smoothly as well, and number one is make sure everyone has EATEN! A string cheese or protein snack can go a long way to keep little ones happy and smiling. No one wants to be hungry, so pack mess free snacks like almonds, or string cheese that will keep outfits clean and stomachs full. Also, try to schedule your shoot when you know your little ones are most happy, either after naps, or when they seem to be constantly more agreeable. If you know it’s nap time, trying to “stretch” them to cooperate may not work well.
-Prepare your outfits far in advance: I talked a little about this in this post, but don’t wait till the last minute to find everyone outfits. Make sure you try them on each member of the family so they know and can understand what they will be wearing. Plus, it makes sure you won’t get to the day of the photoshoot and realized someone needed a sweater or a jacket, or worse yet, an item doesn’t even fit right. Don’t forget to iron and steam the outfits, and try everyone’s shoes on ahead of time. It also seems to be helpful when older children can help mom choose outfits they like, too. Try coming up with a few options and letting your older kids choose their favorites. If they feel good and like their outfit, it can boost their confidence and smiles!
-Trust the photographer (that’s me!). Sometimes, families do a session and feel they must not have gotten “any good shots”. I assure you that is not true! I love what I do, and I am able to capture photos that you may not see at the time, or even be able to visualize! I love surprising families with beautiful photos and genuine smiles after their session, when they had no idea I was able to do so.
To book your session with Texas photographer Paula Goforth, who specializes in newborns, families, and portraits, please contact her here.