Hey everyone! We are officially more than halfway through the year, which means back to school pictures and the holiday photos are coming! Even though we are practicing social distancing, we can still document 2020 (though we may not want to). As an ex- newborn photographer, active family photographer, and Mom; I have been met with all kinds of challenges when it comes to pictures and kids! I’m going to provide some tips to conquer photographing even the toughest of children! Yes as photographers we know that your kids are capable of ruining the oh so wanted family photo. They are unpredictable and at any moment will start running, making faces, clinging to your leg for dear life, or just decide they are done cooperating. But you can be prepared with tricks to help things go smoothly! Whether you are using a timer from you iPhone or hiring a photographer, these are ways to help things go just a bit more smooth!
Newborn to 1 year olds are probably the easiest to soothe. I always recommend a full belly before photo sessions and have snacks ready! Newborn pictures are most beautiful while sleeping, they are softer and more natural. If you are taking them at home, prop up a blanket back drop with a chair. Face it toward the window, and cradle baby with maybe a basket or some pillows! The safest place is going to be the floor. As they get older and start to sit up you can give them toys and props depending on the theme. Cake smashes are always a great opportunity because there is a distraction. Natural smiles make for the best photos, and mommies know what babies love best!
After the first birthday passes I know kids start to develop personalities! Toddler tantrums come like storms out of nowhere, but there is a way to avoid them all together! Again depending on the theme props are best, but you can always add food! For example, around Christmas where you would really want your kids to strut those matching pajamas, bake cookies! There will be smiling faces and you could even incorporate them in the baking process! The more you focus on the camera with a toddler the more they are likely to clam up, so I would recommend also playing music that makes them happy. Turning a session into a dance party can be a great way to distract toddlers from the main event of taking a picture. Also have prizes ready, but beware of them ruining the shot once they’ve discovered the pot of gold that’s at the end of the rainbow
Once we are past the toddler stage, kids are much more aware of what is going on and distractions are probably not the best route! Instead I am going to have to recommend allowing them to become part of the planning. Ask their opinion let them feel like they have a part in the session. I have done this with a family of four and even invited the 4 year old to stand with me pose the family by showing here the frame. Then plan where she is going to be, once she feels involved it is much easier to direct her into the pose I need. Children also have practice at this point and know that just 1 more really means like 5! So ask for their cooperation with a timer. Set the timer and when it rings give them that break! It will help them see an end to their modeling.
And a tip for us mommies, relax! Take a deep breath and smile. If you have hired a photographer trust them. Stressing will show in the pictures, and that split second that your child cracked a smile will be ruined by a raging mom moment!