Surviving Your Family Photoshoot with Little Kids
My Mom's rule of thumb was that kids have an attention span about as many minutes as they are old. While I'm not sure if there is any science behind that, it seems fairly accurate to me. That number can probably be cut in half when they are with their siblings.
A photoshoot is often the perfect cocktail for
disaster: mom is stressed (about picking everyone's outfits/coordinating them/keeping them clean, plus getting everyone's hair right), kids are bored from sitting still, irritable about uncomfortable positions and having to keep themselves tidy, then it's too warm or too cold or too windy out and the sun is in everyone's eyes and parents are trying to coach their kids into not having weird smiles.
It can feel like quite a long stint of smiling. Water helps keep everyone feeling refreshed. It also helps prevent what I call 'sticky lips' when a person's upper lip stick to their teeth, causing a very stiff artificial smile.
Let Them Play and Run
Draw their attention
I like to bring a squeaky toy or a bell to get everyone looking. A familiar squeaky toy from home never hurts.
Prepare the Night Before
Prepare for disaster. Instead of dreading the what might happen, come up with a back up plan so that you don't have to worry—f it means packing a backup shirt for everyone, a tide-to-go-pen, a damp cloth, a sewing kit, a comb and a spritz bottle—do what you need to do to feel calm.
Stress will show on your face. More than likely everything will go fine and everyone will look okay.
Relax and Enjoy the Shoot
If you're late, you're late. Don't let it add to your stress. As a rarely punctual person myself, I totally get it. It might miff some photographers, but truthfully that's their problem. You leave me in a nice spot with my camera, I'm cool.
Michelle J. Falk
Shares stories from behind the scenes and tips to improve your photo sessions.