I get the potential pain of taking pictures with your little kids, especially the 2-3 age, where they might not be so excited to be there and asked to do anything other than play in a near by mud puddle. We’ve all been there.
Here are some helpful hints and tricks I’ve implemented over the years to help the whole family have a great photography experience.
Don’t Offer Candy/Bribes
I know this is a hard thing to do for your family photography session, but in the long run it sets you and your child up for failure. The child will constantly be thinking of the reward and bothered when they don’t get it after two pictures.
Instead, I suggest that parents don’t offer any reward for good behavior up-front. Rather, let the child know they are going to play in a field/awesome location and just to have fun. This takes the pressure off the child to have to preform well for a reward and in general leads to a happier photography session.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Clothes will get some dirt on them, noses will run. These are all part of life with little kids. So I wouldn’t sweat a small amount of dirt on pants or a few hairs out of place. These are all the things that make your child, your child and part of being a kid. I would embrace those little things you can easily let go and focus on having a great time with your little family members.
Trust Your Photographer with Light Timing and Location
This is a big thing with me. Being a seasoned, professional family photographer means I know the best location and shooting times for your family dynamic. For small babies, early is best but in most cases I’m going to ask you to shoot about an hour before sunset, and usually in a place that may not look that fabulous to you. I’m always searching for the best light, a dramatic big sky, and some color. I prefer to shoot in large spaces, free from crowds (think the opposite of Freedom Park) so I can give my families the best light and space they need to be themselves. These are never smile-at-the-camera images. Anyone can do that. Rather, I am working to create a tangible feeling of what it is like at this stage of your lives. Something you can hold onto long after your babies are grown.
Finally, Communicate to Me
Whomever you choose to document your family through photography, always communicate to them your MOST IMPORTANT images you’d like. I have families that sometimes just want mostly pictures of all of them together. Sometimes they really want awesome pictures of just all the kids together. Whatever vision you have in your head for your session be sure to let your photographer know so he/she can focus on those images first.
My style for families is always natural and un-scripted. While we do get that look at me photograph, my main goal is never that picture. I always choose emotion over traditional photography. Connection and light over stiffness.
I want you all to love your session, and look back on these pictures with great fondness and joy. That’s best achieved by moving around your babies, making them laugh and enjoying the warmth of the sunset light.
I take on a limited amount of families each year for photography/documentary. Reach out to learn more.