It is the time of year where I am shooting several family sessions. And I get asked how do you keep kids happy, and how can you make pictures fun? Parents want to know and other photographers want to know too. And since I am by no means a parenting guru or expert, or some sort of child whisperer, take this as you want.
Let you kid know what is going to be happening, especially if they are little or if they are shy. Kids are sometimes overwhelmed at the crazy lady with a big camera. I try to take time to get to know the kids. I ask them about favorite things and find out what their interests are. Then I am not so scary. I try to become a friend. It is important to get down on their level, especially when you are as tall as I am. They can be totally freaked out by amazon lady.
Bribe your kids. If they have a favorite treat they love bribe them. Encourage good behavior and reward them with their treat if they behave well. I LOVE bribery.. it’s how I learned to ride a bike! And if you want to bring a treat your kid loves for bribery please make sure it isn’t sticky, won’t stain, and is something small and quick. I like Pez, smarties, and gold fish crackers for little kids. They are quick and tend to be quite clean.
Parents relax. Kids feel your stress and it fuels them. If they are struggling it is okay to take minute and relax with your child. I promise all kids are crazy, especially mine so I get it. And sometimes just let them run wild a few minutes and then they are good to go for a few more shots. But angry voices, and short tempers tend to make everything worse. Sometimes when kids have lost their interest I will hand them my camera and let them take a few shots and they are more inclined to join in on the fun again!
Be you. Don’t try to be a picture perfect family.. because there is no such thing. Be your own unique family. If your daughter loves her pink cowboy boots and hates to wear anything else, incorporate them into your image. Embrace what makes your kids who they are and capture those memories. And don’t worry, I will love your kids and have fun with them. It’s okay if they have a crazy idea, I will capture it and chances are you will love it.
And lastly have fun! If your kids see you having fun and that pictures are enjoyable they will join in. And if they see me having fun, chances are I will get a real smile. The one that melts your heart every.single.day.