RELAX FOLKS IT'S JUST A FEW FAMILY PHOTOS... chill out parents, don't come stressed!
I know the wife/partner has spent what to you may seem like a fortune to get professional images taken of your families little beauties, but being uptight will only excel the "craziness"! kiddies feed off of our energy...so act like it's not a big deal!
WELL DON'T JUST STAND THERE...DO SOMETHING!
the most successful shoots i've done with families are when the parents get in on the action and do something playful, fun and outright childish!
throw those kids in the air, pack them under your arm like a hand bag, run a race with them and just get playful! the idea is to get down at their level so their personalities will shine (along with their natural smiles) and you come out looking like a hero!
WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOUR HUNGRY, YOU JUST ATE!
always pack a "treat" and a drink (even if you just had a meal), but don't use it as leverage... just say it's for later or during the shoot! make sure it's something you’re ok with being in the photographs! some great photography moments have come from jelly beans, lollipops! and twizzlers!
BUT MOMMY I WANT TO BRING IT...
if your little people have something they'd love to bring (a toy, dress up clothes, a hat) ...BRING it! this is their "flair", it makes them unique and special. it shows a special stage of their lives that will be gone before you know it! don't fret, it's almost never in all the shots (they will forget about it half way through because they’re having WAY to much fun playing with their parents!).
NO HOSTAGE NEGOTIATIONS!
have you ever seen fisherman chum the waters before sharks attack...well, i'm sorry to let you know that once you tell your children "if you behave you’re going to get a ....whatever" you better get ready to see how smart your kids are! they now know how important this shoot is to you and how you’re willing to do "pretty much" anything to make it go the way you want it to. by the end you may be handing over the deed to your home!
instead, tell them that you are all going to hang out as a family at the decided location and that a lady/or gentleman is going to take some pictures while you play and hang out... make it sound casual and make it sound fun!
DOLLARAMA HERE I COME!
bring something your kids love to do or what you love to do as a family. whether it be bikes, cards, a skateboard, a guitar, bubbles, jump rope or bocce....this adds an element of interest and what kid doesn't love to show off a little (heck, i like to show off my mad dora domino skills every now and then!).
consult your photographer to make sure what you want to bring will work in your location!
KIDS LOOK AT THE CAMERA AND SMILE...
parents i love you, but trust in the process...your babes will smile or at least be natural on their own! the more you push, the more you "chum the waters". not to mention there are NUMEROUS times the kids end up smiling perfectly while the parents have this "awkward face" happening because they are trying to instruct their little people to smile!
just be aware that there is a camera around and keep soft, natural expressions happening and all will prevail! remember it's suppose to be life unscripted!
if your kids take off or do something that wasn't planned..let it be and see what happens! as long as they are not in any danger, let them roam. your photographer will just go with it or try something else!
so folks, i hope this helps and that you can make your family's photography shoot a "fun bonding time" not a "dear lord get us through the next two hours without me losing it on my children" type of shoot!