Over the years working as a family photographer, I’ve received heaps of comments from parents before a session expressing their concern about whether their children will behave and cooperate during their photo shoot.
From my perspective, I don’t have any expectations. I’m documenting how your family effortlessly interacts with each other, telling your story and capturing your family’s individuality.
I do suggest several activities that create fun poses we’ll run through during a session. If I make a suggestion and your children don’t respond, we simply move on. The worst thing we can do is at this point is chastise them or force them to partake.
In some sessions I’ve noticed parents worrying so much about how their child is preforming for the camera that they themselves forget to smile and enjoy the moment. This can make my job in post-production difficult and diminish the overall shoot vibe.
For example, if I suggest a family sit under a tree together and one inquisitive child runs elsewhere, that’s okay. Most of the time I shoot with a zoom lens, so while the child is busy doing their own thing, I’m zooming in capturing portraits of them or maybe even one of mum and dad together.
I will typically entice children to engage with their family again once they’ve had a moment to themselves. A few ways I encourage this is suggesting they run to their family for a big cuddle, pick a flower for mum or whisper something into dad’s ear. If all else fails I allow them a turn of my camera, this normally does the trick!
Another important aspect for a session to run smoothly and feel enjoyable for everyone involved is how your children bond with me during your session. If your child is shy, it’s best to move at their pace. Allowing them to remain in their safe space until they feel ready is important.
I’ll usually begin shooting from a distance while the family introduce their child to the session with a comfortable and fun activity. I’ll show your child a few photos of them with their family I’ve taken so far, so they can begin to understand why I’m there and what I’m doing.
It’s important to remember whether your child is hyperactive or shy that’s who they are at this stage of their life. My job is to capture images that demonstrate a safe and protected holding space for kids, emphasizing the family’s uniqueness and story!