Every family has that fear of a young child acting up because of any numerous reasons. As a photographer who has worked with families for many years I can assure you it is okay and you have nothing to worry about.
So, mom’s “It’s Okay” these type of the minor incidents happen, photographers are prepared for events like this and it happens more than you think. We know this may feel like one of the most embarrassing moments but it is okay. As you know when the little ones get overwhelmed they act out and that is okay. It’s like getting they’re hair cut for the first time or going to the doctor office. It’s a experience with new smells, sights, sounds and maybe a little bit of pain if they’re getting shots. Getting their photos taken can be a scary experience too just like those. When they’re put in front of a camera in a new location with light banks that flash at them and make a popping noise it can be a bit much. So, we would like to share with you five tips to help keep the melt downs to a minimum and keep the little ones entertained. A few of them you might have to ask a photographer if it is okay to do first.
1. Let them discover the space they are being photographed in. Whether it is outside at a park or indoor at a studio let you child get acclimated to where they are at. Especially for outdoor spaces it comes in handy if you are at park with playground equipment so they can take a break and play. Granted this can make a photo session last a bit longer but if it means we as photographers can give you our clients the best in photos we’re all for it. For a studio let them walk around the room and if they end up in a small place they like let them use that area as a cool off area in case they need a little break. Having worked with several other photographers the place where props are is normally the place the kids like becasue it has cool stuff.
2. Let them touch and become familiar with some of the photo gear(note not every photographer will do this but it doesn’t hurt to ask). This is something we practice at Vagabond Photography. We found that if you let a young child test the trigger for the lights and make them pop a few times they don’t seem to be as shocked with the flash pops off. Also, with the camera we let them look though the view finder and push the button once or twice so they have a better idea of what is going on. In doing so it gives a child an idea if this new experience is really all about.
3. Bring some props(toys) that they enjoy. These little props can make all the difference in a photo session with toddlers. It can keep the tears from streaming down their faces. It also acts as a little bit of a bribe to grab their attention when they maybe distracted by something else in the room or in the nearby surroundings. It is also nice to let them have something to interact with in their own personal space. Granted it does make the photos a little more candid but the smiles are genuine and that is really what matters. Also if you use these photos in yearly Christmas card if the tractor, stuffed bear, doll is in the photo that say grandma or grandpa it will have special meaning to them as well.
4. Play is important. After talking with several other photographer who specialize in child photography. We came to the conclusion, kids attention spans will last only so long if you ask them to sit and look nice, about 15-20 minutes max is the time that we concluded an active child will give you. If as a family you are being photographed in that park as discussed in topic one that has playground equipment lets use it. This way your photos can be broken up between the classical and candid and you’ll get more photos to cherish. It allows everybody to be active and by letting the little ones expel some of that energy we can get them to be a little bit more cooperative.
5. Snacks. Sometimes a little bribery with children goes a long way. Fruit snacks, fresh fruit, cookies they are good tricks of the trade. Especially with cookies it makes for some fun candid style photos with the little ones as they try to eat them. There is something about a little kid enjoying a Oreo that can always bring a smile to a person face and a little chuckle in their soul
. All the little tricks in the world only last so long infants, toddlers and young children say when the session is over. No matter how bad photographers and parents would like to have the full time limit to have their photos taken, it’s the little ones who always have the last call. It may not seem fair to both parties but once the tears or fussiness starts, its time to call it a day. It goes back to like we explained in the beginning. A photo session for a little one it’s a big deal and parents and photographers should only expect so much out of little ones. For adults it seems easy, come in, sit down participate in 45 min to an hour and a half for a photo session. For the kids though once they start to get uncomfortable or tired it’s time to wrap it up and not push it. By pushing it any longer you run the risk of having a little one go full nuclear and have meltdown that makes Chernobyl and Fukushima combined look like minor incidents.
Mom’s as we said these things happen and don’t be embarrassed or upset there is always the option to reschedule or re-shoot and we photographers are an understanding group when it comes to little children and we want the best for those involved.