Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
— Unknown (Talented.ca)

One of the things I hear most often when it comes to getting ready for sessions is "I don't think  my kids will behave for you." I mean, how do you know that? And so what if they don't? That makes it all the more magical for me. Natural expressions, good, bad or otherwise is exactly what I want. But I understand that a client's worst nightmare would be a child that was misbehaving all day. So take a look at these tips to guide you in your preparation for the big day. 

1. Tell your kids about the session but...don't

While it is really important to explain to your kids that they are having a portrait session, it's also equally important to not scare them about it. Not every child likes to be photographed. I get that. But if you are telling them that I am going to make them feel uncomfortable and they have to be ok with that- then it's not ok. Tell them it's ok to relax and have fun. Tell them it won't be bad and tell them they may actually have fun. Depending on the activity we have chosen for your special day, it's important that kids know that this is about them and their life. This is not about stiff and posed portraits. 

2. Make sure they are comfortable in what they will be wearing

The best part about Day in the Life sessions is that you get to wear what you want! Your normal every day clothes are what is best. The quickest way to a bad session is buying the kids new clothes that they don't want and are not comfortable wearing. The thing is- you need to make them part of the decision process. Give them parameters to work with- like certain colors they can choose from or even patterns but make them apart of the decision. If this isn't your style- then give them a couple choices that you have picked out prior and make sure they get a choice as to which one they want. Let them know you are about their decisions regardless of which option they choose. 

3.  Tell them they are allowed to act like themselves

Once they know I'm coming over to photograph them, kids sometimes will get instantly shy. They don't want to talk or play normally because frankly, I am a stranger. The important thing for you to tell them is that we won't be doing anything out of the ordinary and if we have scheduled something fun and interactive then try to get them excited about that instead of dwelling on my presence. 

4. Give them a reward

I am not really talking about bribery here but I guess- well, I am! Tell the kids if they behave you will get them something. Even a trip to the Dollar Store makes kids happy and doesn't cost you that much money. Stickers, a meal out, a new toy, whatever. It all works in their mind! 

5. Tell them how important it is to you

Kids understand more than we know. Tell them that the portrait session is important for documenting your life together as a family and that it's important to you. Tell them why you need these photos in your life and why. It's not about guilt- it's about love. It's about self-esteem and if you understand that- they will too. 

So, the moral of the story?? Stop worrying so much about it and call me today to iron out the details. It will be magical no matter what we do. Trust me. I have been doing this awhile. ;)

Much love,

Heather 

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Member of National Association of Child Photographers 

Member of Red Thread Sessions

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