We've all been there. You've booked a family photoshoot, a story session, for you and your family of young children. You've been scouring Instagram and Pinterest for months, dreaming up the perfect matching outfits, subtle but beautiful accessories and props, and playing out all the perfect poses in your mind. You've find the perfect local photographer for the job (hey, that's me!), we've discussed photoshoot locations, times and what to expect during your photoshoot. You have the very highest expectations.
Fast forward to the day of the shoot. You arrive at the location. Your newborn has had a rough night the night before and has also missed their day nap. Your three year old is in a mood and a half (when are they not though, right?) And your toddler is refusing to leave the safe haven that is behind your skirt. I can almost read your mind right now. WHY TODAY?! I come to greet you. You put on your game face, and blurt out a thousand apologies to me about how your toddler is not cooperating. How your three year old is already running amok. And how your newborn, well, let's just say that she is sleeping because I am sure you are feeling anxious by now!
Let me tell you this now. Take all that worry...and throw it out the window! I get it, kids will be kids. They will be shy, they may not sit still, they may be embarrassingly rude (so funny when its not your kid!), they may cry, or they might be the perfect angels - we can only hope! So how do we manage to get those beautiful photos you were after when your little ones are just not cooperating?
LET THEM BE - Make it fun
My main philosophy is simply this. Let them be them! If there is one surefire way to get a child to shut down or melt down, it's asking them to do something they just flat out don't want to do. Instead of asking them to pose, I will find something that interests or resonates with THEM, and build the photoshoot around that theme or interest. For example "oh look at this (picks up a stick) I can't believe I just found this magic wand! Oh look there is another! We can use these to do some pixie magic! Lets collect some leaves for the magic spell" Now the toddler is distracted and has a task to complete. It also means we can get some beautiful candid photos of them on their own in their element, as well as interacting with siblings (always good to try and get the older ones to play along) and other family members. What I love about going down this path is that when they are not busy posing or fake smiling it gives me as the photographer, the opportunity to capture those nuances that make them, well, them!
I HAVE KIDS - I GET IT!
I'd rather enjoy the dynamics of your family and have a laugh with you, rather than get judgy - so plea
se never feel the need to apologise or be embarrassed! I have two children of my own and I know that some days, they will be easy, and others, they make me pull my hair out. Remember, my goal is to capture them as they are right now. In fact, i'm a little obsessed with it! So if all they want to do is run, I will run with them. If they want to sit in the sand and draw with a stick, we will do that. Oh, and so will you - don't think you're off the hook that easy!! If they have a little moment, we can capture that too (obviously only to an extent). I love a tantrum face just as much, perhaps even a little more, than a perfect smile, although we will get some of those too. I live for capturing personalities and the real-life you.