Parents, let’s have real talk about your kids and why your child’s personality is good with me be it shy, sunny or spunky. Being a recovering perfectionist myself I know the feeling of wanting our kids to behave like angels and flash their heart-melting smiles on-demand. In this age of highlight reels and perfectly curated everything, it’s easy to get caught up.
But here’s some truth serum: I’m not here to photograph perfectionism, I’m here to photograph your real life derived from orchestrated moments. Having photos of your child with a genuinely pensive expression or laughing hilariously is so much more sentimental than a stiff photo of blank stares and fake smiles.
Keep in mind that I have no expectations of your child’s behavior or their personality. They may not want to run and play and just want to cuddle. Or they may want to ignore everyone and explore. I’m good with that. Sassy or sweet, I’m good with it as long as it’s genuine.
Here’s my 5 tips for preparing your children for your family photoshoot:
- Prepare: Kids are natural planners. They like to know what is happening. It makes them feel more secure and confident going into a new situation. Prepare your child for the photoshoot by letting them a “friend” will be taking some photos of them. Ensuring they are well rested and fed is also advised too (cause, duh!).
- Dress for the weather, not Pinterest: Parents, please for the love of all things, dress your children appropriately for the weather. The San Francisco, Bay Area is riddled with weather enigmas so be prepared. The number one reason for grumpy kids is that they’re cold. The beaches here are not warm people! And the fog rolls-in on a whim. Dress your child in sweaters and jackets to keep them warm and happy. And if they get to strip down to that cute dress or shirt, consider it a bonus from the weather gods.
- Play-up Playtime: A family session is orchestrated playtime between parents and children. Let your child know that’s what we’ll be doing: I’ll be taking photos of you/them while you play. This will get them excited – undivided attention from their parents! They’re ready!
- Engage: Be present and engage with your children during a shoot. I give lots of direction and actions during a shoot but it’s more important for you to be completely engaged with your children. Parents have an invisible tether between themselves and their child. Without thinking about it, it’s what naturally pulls you to your child to ruffle their hair, grab their shoulder or scratch their back. You’re naturally inclined to want to connect with your child. During a shoot, do this same thing.
- Imperfection is Perfection: Your child’s crooked teeth or facial scar is what makes them unique and adds to their story at that moment in their life. Don’t get caught up in the superficial and instead focus on what really matters: happiness, love, adventure etc. I will never, EVER ask a child to smile with their lips closed or to turn their head to hide a scar nor will I alter their photo in post – in my book that is shaming a child. My son gets really, really red cheeks when he’s excited. I will never edit down those ruby red cheeks in post because that’s who he is. Plus, those chubby cheeks may not be forever.
Have more questions about how to prepare? Once you book your shoot, I have a private client welcome site with even more information right at your fingertips. And of course, you can always shoot me a note or catch me on IG to ask your questions!