Do you hesitate to schedule your family photo session because you’re worried about how your children will behave? Well, DON’T! I understand that everyone wants their children to show up on session day and behave like perfect little angels. I also know that if you’re showing up with a couple of toddlers in tow, the odds of that happening are slim-to-none. Children will behave like CHILDREN. Plain and simple. And I promise you it is absolutely OK! So, here are a few ways that I work with children during a photo session…
Understanding the developmental milestones for each age group is so important. I would not expect a 2-year old to sit still and look at me for 10 minutes. I would not expect a 1-year old to jump up and down when told to do so. Understanding what is developmentally appropriate is so imperative to working with very young children. Knowing what they are physically and mentally capable of is key.
If a family is coming to me with very young children, I almost always recommend locations with a lot of space for us to move and play freely. Some children need to run around to release extra energy. We certainly don’t want to have to worry about a child darting out into a busy street.
Most young children have very short attention spans. As a photographer, I feel that it’s my job to keep their interest. I often do this by playing games with them – having them run around, chase each other, play tag, sing songs, dance, jump as high as they can, spin in a circle, and so on. Keeping children engaged is really not that difficult for me, as I’m often told I act just like a child!
Families are not perfect. Our children are not perfect. Focus on where your family is at this exact moment in time and don’t try to force certain behaviors. You’ll only end up causing stress for yourself and your children. Remember that your family is beautiful exactly how it is. At the end of the day, it’s not the cheesy, fake smiles we truly want to remember…it’s quite often the opposite. Embrace the chaos, knowing that these moments are very special – the tears, the laughter, and everything in between.