As you know, I am a child photographer. I absolutely love photographing children. Why are children my jam, you ask? Because, children are awesome! What makes children so awesome?
First off, children don’t have any pretenses and the only people they can be are themselves. Many adults can be a bit camera shy or have a certain idea of how they see themselves or how they want to be seen. The thing with kids is that they don’t have any of that. They might be shy or they could be boisterous. Whatever the case, that is their personality and not an insecurity.
Secondly, they are fun. Sure, there are children that can test one’s patience but if you understand children, you know they too, can have their not-so-great days. They are basically just little people who have more feelings than words. I get that. What I work to do is make sure we don’t get to that point. That is where the parents come in. Normally, I speak to the parents prior to the session to let them know that it’s okay for their children to say no to a suggestion that I have. I want the kids to feel like they actually have options and can choose what they want to do. This allows for better cooperation during the session. If they feel like they have a choice, things tend to go smoothly. This also depends on the age of the child too. Each age/stage requires a different tactic.
Thirdly, I just love their honesty and authenticity. Children can be brutally honest which can be surprising, to say the least. It can also be quite hilarious. Also, they have vary interesting and innocent perspectives. Years ago when my son was about 5 he told me he wanted green eyes. The little boy next door has hazel eyes and I wasn’t sure if he was having some sort of identity crisis or what. Instead of panicking, I decided to ask him why. (Parents are famous for jumping to conclusions about their kids). He told me it was because his favorite color was green. How simple was that?
It appears that I got a little off track talking about the awesomeness of kids. So, the best ways to make your child’s portrait session go smoothly are as follows. Depending on their age, make sure they have already had a nap. Do not, I repeat, do not schedule a session around their nap time. I’m sure you are familiar with how difficult a child can be when they are sleepy or tired. Heck, adults are that way too. Children cooperate best when they are well rested.
Next, make sure they have been fed. If I am coming to your house, make sure there are snacks handy just in case they get hungry. In addition, the snacks should be relatively clean snacks. Maybe fruit snacks or Nilla Wafers or even Cherrios. Nobody wants to work with hangry children.
Lastly, help me to make the session fun. I always like to know the child’s favorite songs and the things they like to do. You have no idea how many times I have sang the ABC song, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or The Wheels On The Bus. I want it to feel like a play date and I just happen to have a camera with me. Also, I like to say no as little as possible. It is okay if they don’t agree to everything that I want to do because I always have something else up my sleeve. If they are shy, that’s a good thing to know so that I will know how slowly I need to take getting acquainted with them.
That’s pretty much it. For the really young children who happen to be mobile, I will need your assistance in keeping them in place or chasing them down and putting them back. Believe me, it happens. I don’t like bribing children at all but sometimes it may be necessary. I would rather bribe the child instead of them being threatened with punishment. The main thing is to keep them having fun because once the tears start the session is over.
Hopefully, this was all helpful. If you’d like to find out more about my sessions, you are more than welcome to contact me for a chat. I would certainly love that.
“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.” ~ Franklin P. Jones