If you’re preparing for a photo session with your children, you may be feeling a bit apprehensive. Children aren’t always easy to deal with, which is why the below tips will definitely come in handy before your upcoming photo session.
1. Don't make a huge deal out of it.If you're stressed out and cranky, your kids will usually pick up on it and act accordingly. Their behavior will usually be better if you are relaxed and having fun. You may have to make some compromises to keep the peace such as letting your energetic daughter's hair stay straight instead of curling it into because she won't sit still. Focus on the big picture and don't sweat the small stuff.
2. Make it fun.Let the kids have a couple “fun pictures” where they get to pick their own pose or props. You get to keep the more serious photos while they get to keep their silly photos. This way everyone wins. If you are struggling to get your kids to sit still, turn the photo session into a game. Simon Says usually works like a charm.
3. Be prepared. If you're going to be out for several hours, ensure that your children are well rested and have had their nap. Bringing some snacks and activities along is also a great idea. If you are having your own photos taken too then you might want to bring a babysitter or family member along to watch the kids. If you happen to be shooting in a remote location, you never know when you might need something like bug spray, tissues or a first aid kit so bring that along too.
4. Be patient.Save your sanity by trying not to control the photo session too much. Sometimes the best photos come from kids just doing their own thing. Work with your photographer and your photos will look fantastic.
5. Have a chat.Get your children talking to both you and the photographer about topics such as school or their favorite songs. This allows them to feel more comfortable around your photographer and will also give your photographer a chance to capture a few candid and cute expressions.
Choosing a photo shoot location might seem like a big deal but it really doesn't have to be difficult. A location usually drives some of the other decisions you will need to make about your shoot so it’s important to choose the right place. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you decide on a location:
1. What kind of theme do I want?If a particular building or natural backdrop would work well with your theme, look around your area for spots that meet your requirements. If you don't know what kind of backdrop you want, take an afternoon drive around your city for inspiration. It's easy to overlook beautiful spots that are practically in your backyard. Ask family, friends or your photographer for ideas too.
2. Are you allowed to take pictures there?Make sure that you can legally take pictures at the location that you have in mind. If it's not public property or available to the public you will need to get permission first.
3. Is it accessible?Consider that not all outdoor locations may be available all year round or you might not be able to get to them at all. Your safety is also an important aspect to think about before you decide on a location. Taking pictures on a mountain ledge may look neat but it’s best not to put yourself in harm’s way.
4. How do you get to your location?Will it be easy to walk to the session location and if not, are you able to change your clothing and touch up your hair and makeup before the shoot? You should also find out whether there is a restroom that’s close enough in case you need it.
5. Will the photo session be in a public place?If the location you have chosen has a lot of foot traffic, you need to ask yourself whether you are comfortable being photographed in front of others. If not, you might want to rethink your choice in location
Make sure that your location doesn’t become a distraction and that there is shelter nearby if you need it. Your location tells a story so it’s worthwhile to choose a meaningful spot.
Have you ever thought about adding props to your photo sessions? Props can add interest, depth and an extra flair to your pictures. Get your children to hold coordinating flowers for a spring or summer shoot. Love sports? Then use baseball bats in your next family photo to bring out your passion. Here are a few tips for ways to incorporate props in your next photo session.
1.Avoid trends.While you might have recently seen a few photos that incorporate a specific prop, try not to use something that will not look really dated in 20 years’ time. Classic is definitely better and there are many fun options to choose from.
2.Be realistic.It’s easy to go wild when thinking of a theme for your photo session. You should decide on one that you can actually find props for. For example, if you want to use seasonal props, try and source them in that season as they’ll be easier to find and before you decide to remake your favorite movie scene, think twice about whether you’ll be able to find suitable outfits for everyone in the photo.
3. Size matters.There are some larger props that work really well in photo sessions such as using your grandpa's farm tractor as a background piece. However, there are some larger props that can take away from the beauty of the photograph altogether. Make sure that your prop enhances the photo and doesn't detract from it.
4. Make it meaningful.If your child has a favorite stuffed animal or if you have a musical instrument that you treasure, try and incorporate it into your photos. This way your pictures will have more meaning to you and your family.
5. Use what you have. Make the current season work to your advantage by using what's available. Leaves in the fall make for amazing props in photos and don't cost a thing.
Remember, using props can be the perfect addition to your photos but make sure that they don’t become the main focus. You and your children should be the stars of the show.
Karah Couch is a Maternity, Newborn, and Family photographer and mother of Seven year old twins and a rambunctious Four year old