When I started writing this blog post, I was actually afraid to use this as the title. It sounds just SO MEAN. But unfortunately, it is completely true! Parents have way too high of expectations when it comes to family photos and I want to set the record straight. Read below for my top three things parents should know before they have their children photographed.
1. Kids Are Meant to MOVE
The days of still portraits are a thing of the past. So many parents see these wonderful photos of the children posed just so and believe that their children should be posed all the time in photos. However, kids are not designed that way. They like to move and scream and play. Why force a child to do something they are proven to hate?
Okay. I hear you. You want your kids to smile for the camera because they have the sweetest smile in the world (and I’m sure they actually do!). Well let’s try a different approach then. What if we ask your child to talk about their favorite thing in the world? For example, puppies and kittens (oh wait that is mine… Still works). Let’s get them to talk about it and you know what a kid starts to do when they talk about something THEY like? They smile! And not the stiff, forced smile you see when you tell them to smile. The real one that makes your heart melt every time! What are some of my other tricks? Making them tell me a joke or make a silly sound. It cracks them up every time!
2.Bribery Should Be an “In the moment” thing
Most parents try to bribe their kids BEFORE the session. The whole “If you behave for this, we will take you for ice cream”. And honestly, sometimes this works. It really depends on your kid. But since most kids have such short attention spans, what if we bribe them at the session/don’t bribe them at all? Keep with me here. I’ll give you three scenarios.
One. Your kid is fussy before the session. He didn’t sleep well so he is rebelling. You promise him ice cream after if he behaves. In the past, this typically works. But today the threat of taking away the ice cream doesn’t work. He has a complete meltdown and you don’t have one photo of him smiling.
Two. Same kid. He is fussy at the session, but you try to get him to behave. He won’t smile at all or do anything cute at the camera. Then you whip out the bribe of ice cream. Know typically happens? The kid smiles and his mood COMPLETELY changes.
Three. Same kid again. He is fussy at the start. So try to play games or tell silly jokes. If at first he doesn’t want to do it, I guarantee that he will join in if we have a really good time with it. Kids get FOMO so easily. His mood changes and he starts playing and smiling. Because you know you got some great photos out of that, you treat him to ice cream for being amazing kid.
See how options two and three have such better results? Try it at your next session and see what happens.
3. Your kids aren’t perfect, so let them be beautifully imperfect
Again. I know you want that perfect photo of your kid. But I have the view that all children are quirky, wonderful, and weird. Why not let them be that way? I would much rather have a little boy tell me a fart joke and get pure, genuine laughter then a stiff smile. Wouldn’t you rather have that to hang up on your wall?
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Talk to you all again soon!