Ah, beautiful childhood photos. There are so many amazing photographers available these days to capture those special early years. I’ve done it all with my kids, from carefully planned lifestyle images of us cutting down a Christmas tree, to expensive in-home sessions, budget-friendly mini-sessions, and school photos. We all know that behind the scenes of those photos tells a whole other story. Here are 9 tips I’ve learned over the years to help make your kids’ photos a success:
- Bring mini-marshmallows. Oh, I learned my lessons the first time I had the brainwave to shamelessly bribe my kids to smile. I brought chocolate chips and ended up with a brown-drool covered toddler. Not anymore. Mini-marshmallows are the perfect (and clean) way to lure your children into delivering some serious grins.
- Bring a tiny arsenal of hats, headbands, and other small props – even if the photographer will have some on hand. Items that are special to your child may make him or her feel more comfortable – but don’t bring anything that you don’t want to end up in the picture (I’m looking at you, Elmo!)
- Practice! For a few days before the big shoot, get your kids in the habit of saying cheese and smiling on cue – but, don’t be afraid of capturing your children without a traditional smile either.
- Plan your day around it: Don’t plan to go out for dinner after your family photos. Instead, show up well-rested and well-fed.
- Let the photographer do her job. That means, let them interact with your child in a natural and playful way to create the perfect image. If you can back up and let them create a fun environment, you’re bound to walk away with wonderful photos.
- But…sometimes you have to help engage your child, especially when they are very young! Don’t be afraid to get silly!
- Photograph an activity that your family enjoys doing together, such as reading books, playing football, or even ask the photographer to join you on a hike or a boat outing! If you are visiting a new city or country, it can be a fun time to experiment with a new photographer in a unique location.
- Print off those photos! Once you’ve gotten the pictures done, start planning what you will do with them. It’s so easy to load them on to Facebook, print off one for Grandma and call it a day. Consider having a rotating gallery wall, creating custom artwork, and decorating unexpected rooms in your house with family photos, such as a guest room or the kids’ rooms.
- Capture the unexpected: Some of the best family photos feature a crying toddler, a serious child, or a laughing dad. Don’t worry if your family doesn’t look “perfect.” After all, no one is perfect!
A family photo shoot can be a wonderful way to spend an afternoon – and if you’re prepared with a few tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be able to truly make the most of it! Cheese!