A Session with Children (realistic approach)

I get it. You just paid quite a bit of money for your session. Your toddler wouldn’t nap. Your baby is cutting three teeth. Your significant other forgot to switch laundry and was 10 minutes late getting home. You are stressed because you want it to go well. And your husband just keeps telling you to relax.

Trust me. I get it. Even as a photographer, we go through the same thing before our session. The stress of the outfits and praying everyone is in a good mood.

So here’s my advice – to you and to myself.

Take a deep breath. Choose your outfits at least a week before. Nothing is more stressful than running to seven stores the day of the session only to find they only have a size 5T for your small four year old and oversized clothing doesn’t photograph well.

Do your best to get a late nap in for the kiddos. Drive them around in the car with the heat cranked up and white noise. And if they don’t nap, bring their favorite snack. If it’s a late spring/early summer session and it’s super late, plan for a late dinner.

Once you arrive, relax. You’re here. If you forgot Suzy’s bow and Johnny’s shoes there is nothing we can do about it now. Pretend like it was meant to be. We have plenty of sunlight. One thing I try and tell clients is that for the next 30 – 45 minutes, pretend you are the happiest you have ever been. Everything your child does and says is the best thing they have ever done. If they are being brats, roll with it. Distract them. Chase bugs, hunt for flowers, and grab their hand and go skipping through the field. The more relaxed and fun you are, the more *real* they will be. Throw them in the air. Sing to them. Laugh with them. Tell jokes, read books, and have fun! Let me capture your family loving each other.

Lastly, have realistic expectations. Everyone is not going to sit perfectly still and smile at me all at the same time. I’m not Sears Portraits 1995 and that’s not the look we are going for. Your kids are going to be over it roughly 10 minutes into it. Don’t keep telling them to smile and say cheese and that you’ll go get ice cream as soon as they let me get one more picture. Because guess what? Then they are really over it and they want ice cream now. Play with them. Sing their favorite song. Bring some books to read. Have fun with it.

This is real life. Kids can be stinkers. Moms get stressed. And dad’s are clueless about what we both want these images to look like. 😉

Have fun with your session. Don’t let it stress you out! (I say to myself who just booked a session and is already beginning to stress about outfits)


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