Sireena contacted me to take their family photos here in Cache Valley while they were visiting from Florida. I jumped on the opportunity, but kind of put it in the back of my mind when she told me she has six kids. But it was very much at the front of my mind as they started filing out of the van and I realized they have six kids that are all pretty young. Luckily, I’m pretty confident with small kids and started on the session like any other. I have to say first and foremost, these kids were rockstars. ALL of them. They all were so well behaved and willing to listen to my prompts. (Their mom is a photographer, too…. so that definitely helps!)
At one point in the session, the kids were getting a little antsy. This usually happens after about 15 minutes and is totally normal during any session with any amount of kids. Momma pulled out some gummies and the kids all sat down for a treat. While they were eating, we placed them in a good spot to take some pictures and took advantage of how content they all were after their treat. (It’s the photo of all the kids sitting on the rocks). It was such an easy shot and definitely reminded me of the importance of allowing time for breaks for kids if they need them! And to go with this – kids will let you know when they are DONE. And when it gets to that point, don’t keep trying to get MORE pictures, especially when you know you’ve gotten everything you need! We want this to be a positive experience for kids so they look forward to having their pictures taken the next time!
Sireena and her husband also did an amazing job at just going with the flow. As parents we often get extremely frustrated with our kids when we have the image in our heads of perfect family pictures… and the kids are no cooperating. I HAVE BEEN THAT PARENT who gets to my breaking point and gets really upset with a child who is misbehaving. And guess what – every time I’ve done it and every time I’ve seen a parent do it, do you know what happens?? TEARS. And tears are not anyone’s best friend during a photo session. So even though we know as parents that standing still and smiling is not difficult, kids are still gonna be kids. Even during a photo session.
The next tip is to consider the time of day. When is your child or children the happiest? When are they the grumpiest? Let’s schedule the session around those happy times, even if it’s not the “best light” because happy and smiling kids are always better than crying kids at golden hour.
Next tip is to bring out the big guns, you know, the thing that makes your kid super happy ALWAYS. My go to – BUBBLES. Not only do bubbles magically make toddlers stop crying, but they don’t look bad in a photo. So if needs be, we can do some pics with bubbles and no ruin your idea of the perfect photos. Allowing your child to hold on to his favorite blanket or stuffed animal will not ruin your pictures either. I’d rather have my baby holding her “b-bs” (blanket) than crying for it.
My last tip is to trust the photographer. Trust that we know how to settle your kids and that we will ask for help if all of our go-tos are not working. A few weeks ago I worked with an extremely stubborn 7 year old. She was NOT happy at all to be having her pictures taken. Her parents were extremely frustrated because it was a big family session and they didn’t want their daughter to be the reason the pictures didn’t “turn out.” And mamas, I feel ya on this! My four year old had an all out 10 minute meltdown at our last family session, to the point that I wasn’t even going to try and do pictures with him in them. Anyway, the parents walked a way for a bit. After about 10 minutes, I finally was able to get a few pictures of very quick smiles she let out. But the trick was that no one was watching, she didn’t feel pressured, and it wasn’t chaotic all around her. Family pictures can absolutely get to the point of feeling chaotic (although I try my best to never allow it to get to that), and that’s SOOO overwhelming for anyone!
So just to re-cap…
5 Tips For Taking Pictures With Kids
- Allow for breaks. Bring a clean snack for break time during the session. Don’t overshoot!
- Keep CALM!
- Schedule your session for the time of day your kids are happiest.
- Bring something that always makes your kiddos happy (bubbles, blanket, etc)
- Trust your photographer!