You've spent hours looking for a great photographer, booked your session, shopped for new outfits, and daydream of a glorious hour where your children joyfully cooperate, smile, and give you big hugs for such a fun time. I'm sure you just laughed out loud, because we know that's not real life. Even the most laid back, smiley kiddos can withdrawal, pout, and hide behind your leg as soon as the camera comes out. So, now what?
RELAX. When Momma starts to tense up out of frustration or embarrassment, your child knows, kinda like when you're sneaking bites of chocolate cake in the kitchen. They have that sixth sense and it will make them feel like they really have a reason to be worried. What to do instead? Pick him up, hold him, sit him on your lap. Smile and talk to him. As he experiences your comfort and compassion, he'll relax. In turn, your photographer will get some beautiful, intimate shots of you and your child together.
DON'T COMMENT ON HIS "FAKE" SMILE. We all cringe at the "cheese" smile. Ya know, the super wide, squinty eye one. Or, it can be lifeless in their eyes as they turn their lips to attempt to look happy. Saying things like "No, smile, like your real smile.... C'mon, why aren't you smiling?.... Not like THAT..." will get a cooperative kid to a frustrated one real quick. In their mind, they are smiling, and doing exactly what you asked them to. Solution? If your photographer hasn't picked up on it, let her know. Share what makes him laugh, or gets them excited. Is it a funny story? What are they passionate about? Getting your child to talk about something they love will surely draw an authentic smile. Trust your photographer, they're seeing it and capturing all the excitement.
ABSOLUTE REFUSAL. You could promise your kid the whole candy store, and they will still not cooperate. You know your child the best, and if forcing them to sit a certain way is going to leave him red faced and full of tears, then take the pressure off. Instead of 'perfectly' posed portraits, we'll sneak great shots during a game of tag, throwing leaves, or looking for bugs.
WE"LL TAKE OUR TIME. There is no rush. I promise. Sometimes it takes children time to warm up. Bring a small toy and keep interacting with him. After a few candid shots, your child might be more willing to take some direction. It can always be done in a fun way! Who doesn't want to 'hunt' for bears or be the king of the castle?
It's very normal to think, "Well, did she really get any good shots?" Yes! It's different on the other side of the lens, and seeing all the uniqueness from your little one. Remember, we're striving for images of YOUR family, not styled family shoots on Pinterest (yes, they exist). So, if you keep putting off your next photo session, now's the time to book, and feel confident that your session will be awesome.
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