Let’s talk kids! In my 30 years as Tampa family photographer, family photo shoots are prone to a meltdown or two. But also, in that time, we’ve learned what it takes to ensure a successful photo shoot with the kiddos.
You and I can agree that getting children to cooperate with just about any task can be a challenge! This is especially true when it comes to something they’re not very excited about— like taking photos with mom and dad!
Would you believe this is the #1 concern we hear from parents when inquiring about a family portrait session?
Of course, you would! We’ve all been there.
We know how stressful a family photo session can seem. But if you follow our advice, you can take a stressful task and turn it into a fun adventure your children will remember and want to do every year!
Side note: When you first book a session with us, there is a questionnaire we’ll ask you to fill out before your session. We’ll ask some questions about your kids to get a feel for their personalities, their likes/ dislikes, and what gets their attention. This helps us better prepare for your session. The more info, the better!
In the world of photography, timing is everything. This can mean several different things, from the time of day we choose for your portrait session to capture the perfect golden hour shot to choosing the perfect time of year or season.
Yes! Florida has seasons.
When it comes to kids, you know them best. When booking your family portrait session, be sure to take your kids’ schedules into consideration. This one is especially important for younger kids that require a nap or have routine mealtimes. Well-rested kids with full bellies make for the best photos.
While you can trust us to get the family portraits you’ve been wishing for, we’ll be keeping an eye out for when they get restless, frustrated, or just need a moment. We’ve all been there!
With some understanding, patience, and a little help from Mom and Dad, we will guide your child to shine as their most authentic selves.
Between the ages 3-5, children ask, on average, an astounding 76 questions per hour. Per hour!
No one can deny it; kids of any age are inquisitive and want to know the answer to all their “whys.” Explaining things to your children improves your bond with them and encourages them to listen. This also helps with setting up expectations before the photoshoot.
Start talking to your kids a couple of weeks beforehand. Let them mark the date off the calendar and count down the days with them.
Take them shopping and let them help pick out the best family outfits or at least pick one item or one color you will include in your session. Include them in the photo session planning.
We have a wonderful list of all the best photoshoot locations in the Tampa and Clearwater area. Have your kids take a look with you and help choose a place for your session here in our Top 3 Locations for Photos in Tampa Bay and Clearwater.
Ask them what they like about it, and why it looks like a fun place.
Involve them in the session. Let them choose one photo from a few pose options, and we’ll make sure we capture that photo.
Being a part of the process will make them more excited about the impending photoshoot date.
When finding themselves in new and different situations, children can experience strong emotions like shyness, anxiety, and fear. On the outside, these emotions can look like:
When planning your family photo session, it is important to let them know exactly what to expect to help avoid the above behaviors. Most kids don’t understand what it means to be a part of a photoshoot.
Have a detailed discussion about what a photographer is and what they do (read them this!). Tell them about the camera photographers use and what it looks like. If you have one of your own, show them!
Explain, in detail, why these photos are important and why they should be on their best behavior. If you’re having pictures taken in a place they’ve never been, let your kids know they are going someplace new.
Maybe they can play in the park or on the beach after the session is over! Speak to their curiosity.
Bonus Tip: Avoid your child’s “stranger danger” reaction. When you tell the kids who they’ll be meeting that day, tell them Brent is a family friend. Show your kids the About Us page! Refer to us often in the weeks leading up to your photoshoot. This will help reduce any potential anxiety your child may have.
Kids are clever! They are a human barometer of emotion. From the time children are born, they start picking up on emotional cues from those around them.
In fact, kids often look to their parents and siblings to decide how they should react to a situation. Chances are, if you are feeling stressed and frustrated getting ready for your shoot, your child will feel the same.
Sparking up any negative conversation surrounding the consequences of poor behavior may put them on the defensive, souring their attitude before the session begins.
Instead, keep it light. You can get your kids in a fun mindset by:
Understand things may not go as planned and mistakes happen. And that’s ok! It’s important to stay calm and go with the flow. You hired professionals! And we always get our shot!
Who doesn’t love to be rewarded? The word itself triggers a sweet release of dopamine in us all.
When it comes to your kids, rewards can be a great tool in a parent’s kit. As you’re preparing your kids over the weeks leading up to your photo session, stress the importance of getting some great photos. Let them know if they do a good job, they will be rewarded.
Those little ears will be at full attention at the mere mention of the word!
The reward could be:
Keep in mind, when using rewards, make sure that the reward and behavior to receive one are understood. This way, there is no confusion, and you’re setting those expectations loud and clear.
Praising your child for a job well done also goes a long way. Praise can help increase motivation, making kids more cooperative.
Not only are you helping to build their confidence, but you’re teaching your child how to recognize when they are doing something good and should feel proud.
Family photos are a great time to let loose and just have fun with those wonderful, energetic, silly little balls of joy you call your own.
On the day of your family session, arrive early at your location. This allows your kids to unwind from the car ride, have a little fun, relax a bit, and help maintain good spirits before the shoot gets started.
Use your photoshoot time with them to laugh, dance, run, tickle, and toss. Walk hand-in-hand, cuddle, sit and talk. Having a natural conversation with your child will help them settle into the shooting environment, especially if they are feeling a bit nervous. Do whatever you can to make and keep your kids happy during your photo session.
Some of the best family photos are candid shots. They tend to be the most authentic to your family, capturing specific moments in time. So let them be their unique, silly, inquisitive selves.
After all, kids grow up so fast! We promise you, years from now, when they are grown and find themselves looking back on these photos, they will be reminded of some of the best moments of their lives.
Find Inspiration for Your Session
Prepping for an engagement, maternity, newborn, family, or senior portrait session can make you feel excited, anxious, a smidge stressed … and of course, making a giant mess in your closet as you search for the perfect outfit. Inside our blog, we’re serving up all the inspo, tips, and tricks you need to have a stress-free photo session, from how to pose without feeling super awkward to what you and your family should wear. Reap the benefits of our 30 years of photography experience and wisdom, or just enjoy looking at the pretty pictures.
Don’t stress (or start panic shopping just yet!). Download our Style Guide, so you know exactly what looks to lay out.
You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers!
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