It’s that time of year – family photo season is upon us!! Today I want to share a few tips and tricks for getting your family to participate with all the smiles and make it the best session yet!!
Talk about it…a lot
The more you share about the upcoming photo session (and be excited about it) the more the kids will get excited! When they arrive they will already know it’s important and exciting because you’ve been talking to them about it and making it not just “a big deal” but an exciting big deal.
Share with them the outfits you are picking out – maybe even give them a “this or that” option for what they will wear so they can be part of the conversation. Show them photos of other times you’ve had family photos done and talk about how much fun it was and how much you love having the memories. You may not think little kids are picking up on these things but they will know it’s important if you make it seem like it’s special and important to you.
If you have someone who is dreading it but old enough to understand it’s a small thing in the big picture of life (talking about dad here and maybe some teenagers) sit them down away from any little ears and tell them to suck it up and put on a happy face – fake it for the greater good. If they hear someone in your family making comments about how they don’t want to go, it’s not their idea of a good time, or they are missing kickoff, they will feed off that energy and make the session drag. Make sure this person (or people) know that while you are doing the shoot THEY need to set a good example and be all in.
It’s really not that hard…
Offer an incentive
Bribe, bribe, bribe, baby!! I’m generally not one to bargain with my kids but for a funeral and for a photoshoot I’ll take them to Five Below to pick out “whatever they want” as long as they behave. If you have a favorite place or treat in mind for a bribe offer it before the session starts and make sure everyone (including the photographer) knows about it and how it will be awarded.
When I know about incentives and with the parent’s permission, I will tell little kids I’m the one that makes the final decision about whether or not they smiled good enough to get the incentive. You would be very surprised how well this trick works!
Don’t threaten them
Please don’t threaten them during the session – it NEVER helps!!
Now I’m not telling you not to lean down on their level and let them know they aren’t behaving or to not to remind them that there is an incentive on the line – if you need to do that I’m here for it all day as long as you do it with a smile. I’m talking about threatening to take away all of their toys, or telling them they can’t go to a party after, that they won’t be getting a visit from Santa, etc.
These threats often make the situation worse and 99% of the time it wasn’t as bad as you feel like it was. I have two kids and I TOTALLY get the frustration that is asking them 100 times to just stand still for a second and smile but I’m telling you threats don’t help.
Also…just a note here. This (or any of the thoughts here) aren’t me trying to tell anyone how to parent. Just advice on how to make things go more smoothly.
Be on time
Be on time…Be. On. Time. Can you hear me in the back!!?? Be on time!!! When you are running late what is your overall demeanor like? Impatient, exasperated, overwhelmed? No, just me…?
These feelings are EASILY passed along to everyone in your car and when you arrive at your session late and you are impatiently hustling everyone out and overwhelmed with having to fix hair, faces, where is that one shoe, who didn’t bring their sweater, why is my significant other just standing there, who is going to pay the meter, can everyone just get out of the car!!! it shows and your kids feed off of that.
Being on time is the number one way to manage your overall vibe for the session. If you need to be a little early to be calm and happy arriving then do that! If you know you’re always running late put the date in your calendar 30 minutes early when you book. Do whatever it takes to be on time so you can all be happy, calm, and ready for a great session!
I know…it’s easy for me to sit here and type this and tell you to relax. I’m not the one who NEEDS that perfect holiday card photo or who hasn’t had a family photo done in years – of course I can say “oh, just relax”.
Every time I take my own family photos I have to remind myself to relax. It’s a struggle so I do know how you feel and that this is important but I honestly can’t tell you these two things enough…
- Relax – kids feed off of you and your energy (and your significant other/family members) so if you are relaxed from the start they will relax
- It’s really not as bad as you think it is and your photographer has probably seen worse
Oh and 3. Be on time! Haha!!!
Interested in more?
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Ready to book your Savannah family photo session?
I would love to send you information and help you decide which location is the best for your family! I’m always finding great new places, even though these are my favorites! Hope to see you and your family soon!