Photo shoots with children can be a roaring success, even though the thought can feel extremely daunting. And on the day, it’s usually a bit of a nightmare. The photographer has been booked for months and just a few hours before you’re due to leave, your little one is having a tantrum. It takes an hour to get your better half and the children dressed and in the car. And on arrival for your family photo shoot, things don’t improve. One child bursts into tears when she realises her favourite toy is at home and the other is already knee-deep in mud and refuses to smile at the camera. Mixing photo shoots with children doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Your family photos can come up all smiles if you take a few tips into account beforehand.
Here’s how to avoid snapping and having a mini-meltdown in front of the camera.
1. The warm up
When it comes to meeting strangers for the first time, it might take children a little while to get over their shyness. If your photographer is happy to meet you earlier, allow your children to meet them in a familiar environment. Soon they’ll be relaxed and smiling, the best combination for a great photo shoot.
2. Pack snacks
Little people burn up a lot of energy which means they need to eat regularly. Hungry children soon become tearful, frustrated or stubborn. Make sure to bring a few of their favourite snacks with to your photo shoot and give your children a few minutes to enjoy a nibble or two.
3. A change of clothing
Children are magnets for mess. Mud, grass stains, spilt food or drink – no doubt something will end up making its way onto your children’s clothing either before or during the shoot. Pack an extra change of clothing and make sure your kids have sturdy comfortable shoes to wear if you’re doing a shoot on location.
4. Take their favourite toys
Make photo shoots with children a roaring success by adding toys or props to the mix. Giving kiddies something to stimulate them means they’ll be smiling from ear to ear while that shutter clicks away. Make sure the props and toys complement the photo shoot rather than steal the show.
5. Dress up
Ever noticed how much kiddies love wearing capes, tiaras, brandishing swords or waving wands? Bringing some of this magic into photo shoots with children is truly a recipe for success. And it’s double the fun if parents get involved too! Your children will love that you’re engaging with them while your photographer will have plenty of great opportunities to get happy snaps of the whole family.
6. Make time for play during photo shoots with children
There’s nothing quite as frustrating as trying to get wriggly children to sit still and pose, never mind smile for a photo. And as a parent, you know that telling children what to do often brings out frowns and sulks. Giving children a chance to play during a photo shoot will bring fantastic results in your photo album.
7. Nap time
Children need their sleep! Try to book your photo shoot after they’ve had a nap or during a part of the day when they are generally alert and ready to go!
8. Take time out
If you see your child is getting niggly, frustrated or tired during your photo shoot, don’t be afraid to call a time out and let them have a break. Don’t try to force their co-operation when a 15-minute break could be all they need.
9. Helping hand
Bring your partner, friend or family member with to the photo shoot so they can lend a helping hand. It’s good to have someone available to look after your child if they do need to take a short break and the photographer can take the opportunity to take a few snaps of the parents in the meantime.
10. Sense of humour
Whatever happens during the photo shoot, keep your wits and your sense of humour about you. Sometimes the poses you had planned don’t work or your children want to go play in areas other than the “perfect” spot. Stay flexible! A good photographer will find a way to steal some lovely shots even if nothing goes according to plan.
If all else fails, it might be better to reschedule rather than trudge on with a photo shoot which results in tired, unhappy children and frustrated parents. Check with your photographer what their policy is on rescheduling before booking your shoot.
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