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How to get your child to cooperate for a photo session

So it is time for your photo session. All you want is for your child to smile for the camera and show everyone how much of an angel they can be. Unfortunately, you remember how the last session went, and you are less than optimistic. I completely understand. So here are some tips and tricks of the trade that I have learned along my journey as a photographer.

Make Sure to Cover the Basics

Children are wonderful and bring so much joy to your life. Unless of course, they are hungry, tired, messy, or uncomfortable. I know this seems obvious, but in the rush of preparing for your shoot, it's easy to lose track of nap time. Another bonus to making sure the kids get a good nap in before the shoot, you can get yourself (and your husband, because let's face it, he's just as much work as the kids) ready while they sleep. Then once they're awake, you get them dressed, and you're ready to go.

As for being hungry or thirsty, I suggest bringing along some snacks and drinks for the kiddos. Even if they're all topped up before you leave, it never hurts to have something to give them to encourage them to smile. What? Who said anything about bribing a smile out of the kids?

Lastly, even though that three piece suit looks so adorable on your little tyke, it's itchy and stuffy and your little guy probably won't feel like smiling while wearing it. Same with restricting dresses for your darling daughter. When choosing your family's wardrobe, go for comfy and cute! If you simply must have the adorable suit, then your best option is to dress you little dude in something comfortable and bring the tux with you to change into at the last minute before the shoot.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

If there is any guarantee in the world, it's that everything will go wrong when you have no time to fix it. To minimize the fallout of this inevitability, make sure to give yourself and your family an ample amount of time to get ready and travel to your shoot. If you only budget yourself thirty minutes to get ready, you might show up to your shoot with two different shoes! Yes, this has happened to a client of mine in the past. But wardrobe malfunctions are only one side effect of a rushed timeline. If Mom feels rushed and flushed, then the kids will pick up on that and feel anxious themselves. So just breathe, relax, and always add an extra 15 to 20 minutes to each step in the process of getting ready.

Let Them Be Kids

In any given situation, kids want nothing more than to explore and have fun. As a photographer, I can tell you that some of the best shots I've ever gotten were from a candid moment of fun. So don't stress the kids by asking them to sit pretty the whole time. If you give them some free reign at the beginning of the shoot and let them explore their surroundings, they should be much more attentive and willing to sit with the family for some posed portraits later.

BONUS: Let Your Photographer Do the Work

Here is an extra little tip that I tell to all of my clients. Let your photographer do what you hired for them to do. If you spend your whole session trying to convince the kids to look at the camera and smile, I might not be able to get an image of all of you looking and smiling. So the best thing you can do is always be camera ready! Smile at the camera and let me get the kids' attention. Trust me, I'm good at it.

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