So, you’ve done it! You’ve booked your photo shoot with your Austin Family Photographer! You are envisioning photos on your walls of your beautiful family, snuggling, holding hands, and just loving on each other. Suddenly, dread starts to creep in as you wonder: what if my kids don’t listen? What if they act wild and crazy, even after all the effort I put into the investment and getting us ready? Relax! This is why you hired a professional. What if I told you that getting your child to cooperate for family photos was a lot easier than you think? Here are some of my secrets to make sure that your photos are amazing and that your kids have FUN!
Make sure everyone is fed.
It might seem really obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people think, I’ll just wait to give them dinner until after our session since it will be dinnertime. They don’t consider the fact that as that as the session goes on, the tummy rumbles roll in. Since we don’t want to spend our precious photo time doing damage control for hungry kids, I cannot stress enough how important it is to have contently full bellies prior to our shoot. Don’t worry about spoiling dinner because kids will always eat to their comfort level. Trust me, hungry kids = cranky kids, and hunger WILL ruin family photos.
Bribes, bribes, and more bribes.
What is a really awesome post session reward or treat that you can bribe your kids with? I always recommend things like, letting them pick where you go out to eat after or grabbing ice cream on the way home. Other examples include extra iPad time, a new Dollar Spot Target toy, staying up 15 minutes past bedtime, or anything else that you know your kids will love and that works for your family. There is no doubt that bribes work, so make sure to hype up the session with something special they can earn after.
We talked about bribes, but let’s talk about TRIGGERS. What does this mean? If your child loves the iPad (and I mean, whose doesn’t?!) we will want to refrain from screens during our session because taking the screen away could trigger a meltdown. Trust me, I have seen a photo session completely ruined by the simple mistake of letting a child watch one YouTube video. Snacks are another big trigger for some toddlers because once you try to take them away, they lose their cool and want the snacks throughout the rest of the shoot. This is also why it’s so important to make sure they’re fed. 😉 Sometimes toys are triggers, so we want to make sure our session is kept simple with no uses of screens, toys, etc.
Choose a photographer who plays.
The personality and style of your photographer is going to greatly impact the flow of your session. If you have wiggly, adventurous kids, booking a photographer who emphasizes posed images might not be a great fit for your stage of life. To get those money shots, though, make sure you hire a photographer who has a ton of experience working with kids of all ages and personality types. The outcome of your photos can really be impacted by things like silly voices and outgoing personalities to connect directly with your family in a short amount of time, in order to get the best possible outcome. This is also why experience is so key!
Keep your own emotions in check.
It’s really easy to get frustrated and raise your voice when kids aren’t cooperating, but relax and let go of the expectations. Try soft and gentle redirection instead! Not only will your kids respond better in the moment, but it will also make for some adorable photos and sweet interactions between your family. Remember, kids can sense our stress. If you’re not relaxed, your kids won’t be relaxed, either. If you are laid back and welcome them as they are, I promise that you will be thrilled with the results. Want to know how photos are ruined the quickest? Parent expressions. Kid faces are always cute, but scolding or stressed parent faces aren’t.
What do you think, Austin parents? What is your secret to getting your child to cooperate for family photos?