Have you ever booked a Christmas session, bought the perfect outfits for the whole family, showed up to your appointment early and then everything went down hill from there? Your toddler fell in the dirt before you could get in the door. Hubby is irritated he has to be there and the mood is shot. You have forced smiles and grumpy kids? Yeah, it happens to the best... actually it happens to everyone more than you think. So here's a few quick tips on how to keep your family calm and have fun at your photo shoot.
1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
This one might be a no-brainer, but there may be some things you haven't thought of. Of course you have the cutest outfits already picked out (coordinating colors are better than matching outfits), but have you communicated with the kids what you're actually doing?
- break open an old photo book with old Christmas photos in them. Show the kids, get them excited to do some Christmas themed pictures. Tell them the photos will be there's to keep and look at whenever they want. Now I know some older kids don't give two craps about it, but if you can get them pumped. Do it!
- Bribe them if you have to lol. Yes, it works. Tell them your going to have some fun taking photos, then you'll go do something even more fun.
It helps to communicate to them what your going to be doing instead of just showing up and shoving a camera in their face.
2. Have a plan for your photos.
Don't buy that session with digital images and just post them on Facebook and Instagram. Why did you want the photos? To cherish them and show them off. Post them on Facebook, everybody does. Also order that Christmas card to send to grandma, distant family, not distant family, friends, and keep one for your self. Do you have a Christmas scrapbook to put them in? I create a 8x8 album of the whole Christmas including all the places we visit every year. Are you planning to gift them to someone? Do you want to use them for holiday decorating? A Christmas canvas of your baby will still look good 10 years down the road. Do you want to decorate your work place with them? Don't let them get lost in cyberspace. If you know what you plan to do with the photos before the shoot, your photographer can adjust and shoot accordingly. You don't want a canvas with a body part being wrapped around the side.
3. Be well rested, fed and show up early.
Yes, nobody wants to put up with a hangry diva at a photo shoot. Mom, dad, kids... even the dog. Making sure everyone had a good nights sleep and are not hungry can make a difference in attitude. Photo shoots are fun, don't let anything that simple spoil it.
Also, showing up at least 5-10 minutes early so the kids can get a glimpse of how things work is a ways a great idea. It also will give you time to get any really small children's outfits changed if you decided to wait till you arrived to dress them. Which is an awesome idea if I might add. I can't tell you how many times my son has fallen in the grass, dirt, mud... you name it as soon as we walked out the door to go somewhere.
4. Bring something from home.
Might sound odd, but bring something from home if you have to. Smaller kids who don't like being in odd places can be comforted with a favorite toy, blanket, or just something that's familiar to them. You're probably thinking, i'll be with my kid, i'll comfort them. If you want a photo of them by themselves, it might be a harder job than you think if the child is nervous and just wants you to hold them. Give them something from home to hold on to.
Also, if you have small baby's, don't forget that passi, binky, nuk, whatever you call it. Don't forget that thing! Also, bring a bottle of milk, juice, water... whatever. Anything that helps calm the baby, bring it! Hey, we might not need them, but it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
5. Relax. Don't forget to have fun.
Seriously, relax. It's just Christmas photos. Yelling and demanding your child look at the crazy lady with a camera is not going to give you the cute smiles you're looking for. If you're relaxed, happy, and having fun, so will your kids. If they need some encouragement to smile, don't tell them to, kids never do what we say! lol Have fun with them. It will be more memorable for you and them if you all can relax. Don't worry about the cranky toddler that wants to cry all the time, I've seen it all, believe me. Let's adjust do things their way. We'll get a cute photo on their terms.
I hope these tips will come in handy as you prepare for the holiday grind!
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