Many parents worry about their children behaviour. I completely understand it as these little force of nature couldn’t be less predictable, but I assure you this is the last thing you should think about and here are the reasons.
Worried your children won't behave during the family photo session?
From my experience of photographing children, I know they are usually unpredictable. I’ve seen an usually outgoing child become very shy, and I’ve also experienced children being confused about having a ‘stranger’ with a big camera hanging around! There are also children who couldn’t be happier anywhere else but in front of a camera, usually to their parent’s surprise.
My point is, you never know what’s going to happen, but I usually know what to do to accommodate their mood. It usually involves giving them time to warm up and give them plenty of opportunities to play with what they like the most. This is the best way to get expressions from them and capture memories of who they really are. You’ll be rewarded with a timeless portrait and they will love to have artistic photos of how they were when they were a child. It’s always a win-win!
We know that babies are even more unpredictable. In most of my sessions, they have been smiley-easy-going little beings, but it’s very common that they have ups and downs.
This is an expected behaviour for their age so if your baby/toddler happens to be moody in the session day, don’t think you won’t have any photos of your otherwise wonderful smiley child. You will!
All we’ve got to do is give them time and do things that usually soothe them, and they will cheer up again.
If your child is below four or five years old, we know there’s no way they will take directions. That actually makes me happy because their spontaneity will make the magic happen!
Of course I’ll try and influence them by offering to play near a beautiful light (by the window) but I know they will always surprise us and this is nothing else but beautiful!
I always make sure we book the session at the time of the day where they are usually at their happiest, but their patterns can change with the weather and that leads me to the next item.
Longer sessions are our friend when it comes to photographing children. My sessions usually last 3 hours. I won’t be photographing all the time, but I want to make sure we have enough time to deal with the children’s mood on that specific day.
Also, since children have a natural short attention span, and most of them won’t take direction when it comes to standing in front of a camera, I don’t want to rush and run the risk of losing their natural expressions. This will also allow us multiple breaks if we need them and also they will feel they are in control, which couldn’t make them happier. It will also put me in a better position to capture the full range of their personality.
That’s why a session of 3 hours is just perfect to engage with them in a very spontaneous way.
Most children will love to have some sort of routine in place and the best way to quickly gain their trust is to stick to it. This is usually intuitive because you know best what makes your children happy.
I will also send you many suggestions and they are all related to their comfort toys, snacks that they absolutely love, clothes that they are interested in and love to wear. This will all make sure we have a way to lighten their mood (snacks work wonders and I absolutely recommend that we have a few available for them during the session.)
For sensitive or overly shy kids, I highly recommend that we do the photoshoot in a place that they know and love. It’s usually their home but it could also be in a nearby park!
One of the things that I have found to be the most successful to achieve natural images of your kids and your family is a child-led approach. For the duration of the photo session and within the limits of safety, I’m going to put your children in control a lot. I’ll ask them to pick things, do things, give them choices and let them figure it all out and I’ll be adjusting little things to make it work photography-wise.
My goal is that they treat me as their friend. If they really like me and get super comfortable, I’ll be able to get those natural photographs that we both want to capture.
If you are still worried that your children won’t enjoy being photographed and your family is not so keen on having their photos taken but you’d love to have some memories, I’d recommend that you opt to photograph everyday activities that they love (let’s say tug of war, reading a book, having a dive in the bathtub, throwing a tea party, role-playing or anything that we can come up with!)
These activities make them – and everyone actually – feel much more relaxed. The photo shoot can feel like a great family day out, which helps to capture everyone’s best side! 😉 I have many suggestions for different activities and can show you some great examples. Just send me an email!