The thought of trying to get your kids to sit still for a photo is enough to make some parents want to run in the opposite direction! And even if they do cooperate and pose nicely for pictures, it probably won’t be long before one or all of them are getting bored and ready to call it a day.
But there are ways that you can make this experience easier and less stressful on both parents and children. Here are some tips for making it work.
1. Make It Fun
Kids love to smile and laugh, so let them be themselves! If you want photos of your kids looking serious or professional or mature, take those separately at different times. For the shoot with the whole family, however, try to make it fun instead of a chore.
2. Joke Around With The Children
Lighten up the mood by playing silly games with the kids! One way is to tell knock-knock jokes. Another idea is to have them throwing pretend snowballs at eachother and playfully faux fight before getting down to business as usual (i.e., taking pictures). Whatever makes them laugh or giggle will probably help ease tension as well.
3. Let Them Have Some Fun Pictures
“Yes, it’s good to have pictures of your kids looking nice and clean, but if you want real memories that you will treasure forever, don’t be afraid to let them roll in the grass or let their hair down. A little dirt on the face won’t hurt anybody!”
4. Use Props
Sometimes all your kids need is something interesting to look at or do for instant smiles. If they are bored, try handing out some fun props for everyone to play with! For example, put a silly hat on each child.
5. Keep It Simple
It’s always better to have fewer photographs but ones that everyone is happy with, rather than having too many photos of each kid looking cranky or impatient. One suggested method for making it work is to tell the kids that you’re going to take say 5 or 10 pictures and then they can go play, so everyone stays engaged. While your kids are playing and being themselves, is a great time for the photographer to get some super candid shots.
6. Don’t Get Stressed Out
If one child isn’t cooperating, don’t stress over it! Maybe either mom or dad can hold the child in their lap or take them for a short walk and then get in a few shots with each child individually before going on to the next step. As a family photographer, I have worked with tons of kids, and it pays to be super patient. When you stress about it, it usually leads to teary eyes and red faces and not the family photos you had hoped for.
7. Take Breaks if Needed
Sometimes kids need a break from the silliness and stress of photo shoots. If they seem antsy or bored after 10-15 minutes, stop for a little while to regroup and reenergize. For older kids, it’s probably best to let them know this ahead of time and they won’t be upset or surprised that you cut the session short. If they do get fussy toward the end of a shoot, try handing out some fun candy like gummi bears (if they’re allowed, of course). Most of the shoots I do have a buffer time at the end just in case we do over time, so don’t worry if the photo shoot takes a bit longer than expected.
8. Keep Them Nourished
If you want your kids to behave well during a photoshoot, make sure they are well fed beforehand! They will have more patience when their blood sugar levels aren’t low from hunger. If your child is on bottles, try to feed the child as close to the time of the photoshoot as possible. A baby with a full belly is usually a very content, relaxed and happy baby.
9. Avoid Screaming and Yelling at Your Kids
I understand that sometimes kids make mistakes and act like mischievous little monkeys. If they are doing something you don’t like, please don’t scream or yell at them! I think it’s best to follow the old adage… “Do as I say, not as I do.”. When you yell at kids, it usually has the opposite affect to what you intended, and can upset the kids even more.
10. Be Patient With Your Photographer
We understand that sometimes parents get very stressed out during photo shoots with their children because we can be trying at times (okay, all the time). Please try to be patient with your photographer as well if he or she asks you to take a step back from your child for a moment so that they can set up the shot properly, etc. Remember that this is usually a process and we’re not always in a hurry to finish the shoot. Like I said above, there is no rush to get finished quickly.