So you’ve booked your photo shoot and you have young children. Your mind probably now turns to worse-case what-if scenarios. What if little miss has a complete meltdown? What if master 5 wants to keep sticking his tongue out? What if your darling offspring just want to bury themselves into your shoulder the whole time?
I’m here to say DO NOT WORRY ABOUT WHAT-IFS. If you are stressed and anxious your littles will pick up on this angst and that isn’t the start we want. In the days leading up to your shoot spend some time slowly getting organised to avoid last minute rushes. Pop all your outfits and accessories together somewhere. Pack a bag with water and non-messy snacks. Check the directions and expected travel time to our shoot location. Do all the things to calm your mind, spirit and soul.
On the day of our shoot give yourselves permission to take it easy. Don’t overbook your day and leave yourselves flustered, tired and short of time. Instead take it slowly. If you need to let your children watch a little TV to give you the time you need to shower, do your hair or makeup or just to decompress DO IT. It is hard, I get it and I struggle with it too but it is just ONE DAY. Likewise if your littles don’t nap or fight naps do whatever it takes to get them to at least have a rest or some quiet time – especially if we are doing a dusk session. Sit with them and listen to an audio book, lie on a blanket in your backyard for a “nap” or take them for an aimless drive in the car, anything that will slow them down for a little while. Make sure both you and your children have had adequate water to drink and that you aren’t leaving home for your shoot already starving hungry.
Once on the road I suggest explaining to your offspring that you are having pictures taken and it is going to be FUN and a chance to PLAY together and have some quality FAMILY time. Resist the urge to say things like “you need to be good for the lady”, “you need to look at the camera and smile” or worst of all bribes like “if you behave we will give you an ice cream afterwards”. All these types of statements have the potential to set up conflict and for your young one to think “guess what mum, challenge accepted, it’s game on”. Instead LET IT GO and put ZERO expectations on your kids.
Hopefully if you do all these things you will be in pretty good shape heading to your session. But then you arrive and maybe your anxiety goes up. Perhaps your hubby or partner wasn’t that keen on the idea in the first place. Maybe your children are starting to grate on each others’ nerves. Possibly you are worried how you will look in the photos. Again LET IT GO. If you relax your precious family will take their cue from you and they too will slowly become more at ease. Forget that it is about photos and think of it as 45 or 75 minutes of almost sacred, technology free, outdoor play, with lots of snuggles and special moments. You will have a chance to breath in your little ones, to tickle, giggle and maybe even have a pash with your partner.
If you children start engaging in your what-ifs we will go with it and roll with the punches. If someone has a meltdown we can wait it out, they rarely last long. If someone is pulling faces I’ll let them and the novelty will no doubt wear off and we will then get a nice range of expressions. If someone is snuggly or clingy that is fine. In fact it is great and can make beautiful photos. Please know I come with NO JUDGEMENT. There is no BAD behaviour. Their is just your child’s behaviour; it is unique, it is their personality, their temperament and it is what makes them them. I am about capturing real life and real connections whatever that looks like. I want you to look back on your photos and to FEEL the connection and see YOUR child as they are in day-to-day life . I don’t know about you but when I think about my children it isn’t about them standing perfectly still with model smiles looking straight down the lens of the camera. It is playing in the dirt, teasing, being sassy, laughing and cuddling up to us their parents and that is what I aim to capture for your family.
“Where there is perfection there’s no story to tell”