Does the thought of spending countless hours trying to pick out the perfect outfit, getting your entire family put together while you are also trying to get yourself together, just make you nauseous?? I know it definitely puts a pit in my stomach just thinking about how chaotic it can be trying to plan a family photo shoot, all for your one toddler to not cooperate the ENTIRE shoot. Well let me tell you… it happens and IT IS OKAY!!!
So many times moms do not want to plan a photo shoot because they dread spending the money only to not get the images they truly want. Well I am here to tell you that with a few little tricks, we can still get you those beautiful images while helping your kiddos manage the session as well!
One of the biggest things you can do to help prepare your kiddos for a family photo shoot is come prepared. And when I say prepared, I mean OVER prepared! I took my kiddos out with my husband one night to practice my skills while it was still warm outside. Even though I thought I was over-prepared, they showed me I did not even have enough snacks with me! We had brought two 40oz Thermoflasks of ice water with us and both of my kiddos drank them both all on their own! Sure my husband and I had a few sips here and there but my kiddos just kept drinking because they were thirsty. They also snacked their entire way through the session and you know what? That is okay!!
I would much rather do whatever it takes to help your child have a better experience and take our time to do the photo session than try to force them to starve and get even more angry because they are so uncomfortable. Nobody wants to deal with an angry toddler can I get an AMEN?? All that being said, you have to proactively plan in advance.
So what should I pack? Well, first things first, grab a bag and tell your kiddos that this is a special bag for when we take photos. Then, pack the bag with several of their favorite snacks. Whether your kid is a goldfish lover, peanut butter pretzel lover, or fruit snack lover, pack a lot of whatever their favorite is. That way, if we need to use all of it during the session, that is okay. You can never have too much.
Next, pack some kind of treat for them. If they just love M&M’s, pack a decent amount so every time they do a good job while posing and smiling, they get one M&M each time to encourage them to keep going. If they see they get a reward for cooperating, they are much more enthusiastic to keep cooperating and have fun.
Like I said earlier, pack lots of water! Even if you think it may be too much, it is better to have extra than not enough. If your child prefers a special cup, put some ice water in there so they will want to drink because hydration will help with the exhaustion.
Lastly, come up with some kind of reward for after the session is over. Whether the whole family gets to go out for ice cream afterwards, go out to their favorite restaurant, or even going to a special place, tell your kiddos in advance that is where they get to go after they are done. That way during the session, we can keep reminding them, “hey guess what, the faster you help and cooperate, the quicker we get to go get _______.”
All in all, even if you do everything in your power to help get your kiddo in a great mood beforehand or even during, sometimes kids do not always cooperate with our schedule. And you know what, THAT IS OKAY!!! I bet you wouldn’t even know that the cute little toddler below was crying the ENTIRE time we did this photo session?!?
The whole session her mom felt so bad because she was having one of those days where she did not want to be there. Thankfully, her mom brought lots of snacks and every time before we started a new pose or moved locations, we gave her a few fruit snacks and it perked her up just enough to where we could capture some beautiful photos. If you go to their whole gallery (http://chandlerfultonphotography.com/gallery-4) you probably wouldn’t even know that about 90% of this shoot was spent trying to get her to smile/not cry. But mom and dad did amazing at doing their best to help her feel more comfortable and that is what helped her relax. The more mom and dad can be relaxed, the easier it is to help the kiddos relax.
No matter what kind of mood your kiddos show up to our photo session in, I will do everything I can to help make them as comfortable and cheerful as I can. I promise, taking the investment on capturing your family is so worth it because you will always be able to look back and see your family at this stage. As everyone always says, it goes by so fast, so enjoy it while you can 🙂