Kids Acting Up During Your Photo Shoot? Don't Sweat It. | Greater Boston Family Photographer
Parents are always giving me a head's up about their kids' behavior just before a photo shoot, from, "She just woke up from her nap," to "He's going through a sullen tween phase." And while I do like and appreciate these warnings, the bottom line is that I'd rather spend our time working on creating an atmosphere of fun than cajoling your kids into smiling at the camera.
Here are the things that I've found work better than shushing kids or telling them to buck up.
Focus on Being Together
I'll have you sit together and talk quietly. Tell them a funny story--one that you know always makes them laugh. Show them a goofy video on your phone. Be gentle with them. Whatever you do, don't prod them or make them feel too bad about their behavior. (It usually doesn't work and sometimes ends in tears.)
Instead, gently coax them back into the light. Remember that this moment will pass and years from now you'll actually wish that they (and you) could be this young and spend this time together again!
You know that feeling you get when you're cooped up during a blizzard and then you can finally, finally go outside? That feeling of euphoria because you can finally move around in the world? That's what it's like when we let kids run and play during your photo shoots! Most kids happily follow suggestions like, "Race your sister to the tree!" and by the end of just a couple of minutes their smiles and laughter are naturally bubbling up.
Play Some Music
Music can totally change the mood of a family photography session. In the photo below, the toddler was having a meltdown--we had been shooting for quite awhile and she was just done with it.
But we found her favorite song (from Moana) on YouTube and played it for her while mom and dad got a quick smooch in. It's one of my favorite photos from this session, and you'd never know that two minutes earlier she had been so upset!
When All Else Fails: Bribery
Yep, I said it. Your family photos only happen once a year, so if we can't get your kids out of their funk a little bribery goes a long way. I recommend making family photos a fun day by planning some kind of exciting outing afterward like dinner at your kids' favorite restaurant or a trip to the local ice cream stand--but keep it a secret. That way, you can use it as your secret weapon if things go south during your photo shoot, or as a reward if things are going really well.
And above all else, breathe deeply and remember to laugh. Even when kids are being utter stinkers, their parents are always surprised by how many sweet photos come out of their sessions! You may be surprised, a few years from now, that your memories from these photo shoots are only of the time you had together in the golden light.