Welcome to the next installment of Helpful Tip Tuesday – 5 tips to prepare your child for their next photo session!
Whether it is a session focused on one of your children or on the whole family, as parents we want every detail to be absolutely perfect. We envision a perfect portrait hanging on our walls of our family looking their absolute best, with happy, joyful smiles at the location of our dreams. Some parents scour the internet for weeks finding the perfect outfits for everyone in the family, while others are more focused on the perfect location. Whatever you are focused on, here are some of our most helpful “wellness” tips to help you have the best portrait session possible. These tips apply to everyone in your family but we
will * the specific tips for toddlers.
1. Well Rested -
No one likes to have their photo taken when they are tired. Even if your photographer has a side job as a clown for Ringling Brothers Circus, if your child is tired and cranky, they won’t be excited for their session. I want my subjects to be as excited for their session as I am since I’m pretty sure I could be a clown for Ringling Brothers. Any client of mine can tell you my monkey face and dance moves are legendary! But all of those sweet dance moves, songs and silly noises are wasted on a child who is too tired to be interested in their session. Try to schedule your session for the best time of day for your child. Is it first thing in the morning, *after their nap or after lunch? If at all possible, avoid scheduling an appointment before your child’s nap thinking that the session will wear them out and they can sleep on the way home. That will result in a cranky child who doesn’t want to be there. If you are unable to schedule your session for the best time of day for your child, at least make sure your child goes to bed early the day before your appointment so they are well rested and ready to play at their session.
2. Well Being
Besides sleeping well, this is the #1 tip I always recommend to my clients. It’s the hardest and also the simplest – RELAX!
As parents, we’re designed to be ‘fixers’. We want to be the person who solves all of our children’s problems no matter how big or small. Sometimes if your child is shy or is not listening to the photographer, the ‘fixer’ instinct kicks in and you try all sorts of tactics to get your children to cooperate and “just smile!” I can tell you with 100% certainty that these are not the photos you will treasure. They will not be the photos that make you cry tears of joy or the portraits you will have trouble taking off your walls long after your children have grown. We all want those magical portraits of our children, the ones that capture the way their eyes light up when they giggle or the way they cover their faces when they’re shy. In order to capture those moments, your photographer has to develop a connection with your child or children. So as much as you want to ‘fix’ the situation when your child is not cooperating during a session, the best thing to do is to take a step back, allow your photographer to form a connection and relax. An experienced photographer will be able to draw out even the quietest child and allow you to sit back and enjoy your session.
3. Well Fed
Just as a good nights sleep will help prepare your child, giving them a light, healthy snack before your session will also help your child to be happy and ready for their session. A sugary snack or treat will cause a spike in their blood sugar levels resulting in hyper activity followed by a sugar crash so try to avoid sugary treats like donuts, cupcakes or candy before your session. Try to offer your child a healthy, protein rich snack such as cheese, a smoothie, yogurt, peanut butter with celery sticks or whole grain crackers, almonds, raisins or a tablespoon of hummus with some veggies of their choice. Also don’t forget to bring a bottle of water in case anyone in your family becomes thirsty during your session.
4. Well Dressed
Coordinating outfits for your whole family does not have to be as stressful as it sounds. We have multiple ‘What to wear guides’ on our Pinterest page here to help you with outfit selections. What is stressful though, is purchasing an adorable outfit online and having your child try it on for the first time at their session. First, there is the possibility the outfit will not fit the way you like. Second, some children will resist the idea of having to wear a ‘fancy’ outfit that they have never tried on when there is a stranger (your photographer) there or if they are in a new location, such as the photographer’s studio or outdoor location. I recommend having your child try on the outfit you have chosen a day or two before the session to allow you enough time to make any adjustments to their wardrobe if they are needed. Plus this allows your child to become familiar with their beautiful picture perfect outfit days before their session and they will feel more comfortable during their session.
5. Well Prepared
One of my favorite quotes is “We never plan to fail, just fail to plan.” Planning and preparation before your session will save you from a stressful situation later. Talk to your child or children a few days before your session and make the experience sound as fun as possible. Answer any questions they may have if this will be their first session. Some children are shy when first entering the studio and seeing the background set up with props and studio lights. Reassure your child that they will have a great time with their photographer and that you will be there the whole time looking on. Don’t offer bribes for good behavior as this will only cause your child to give a quick smile and be ready for their bribe. Our goal in every session is to provide you with the most authentic representation of your child while also showcasing their personality.
Follow these 5 tips to help you plan and have the best possible portrait session with your child. Be sure to stay tuned for the next installment of Helpful Tip Tuesday “Canvases, Enlargements or Print Wraps?” coming soon!!