I shoot mostly families, especially those with young children. A few people have asked me how I can manage that. I've found that parents go a long way in setting the stage for the shoot.
Here are my top tips for parents during a family shoot:
- Expect your children to take a little time to warm-up to the photographer. Many kids are shy at first.
- Bring wipes or tissues! Runny noses and drool don't make for good photos.
- Kids may need to take small breaks in between poses. Remember, they are working. Posing for photos isn't easy for a busy child!
- Allow the kids to wander around and explore (with a parent or sibling for safety) while the photographer is shooting others. This keeps them entertained and may provide opportunities for fun candids.
- Don't use harsh words or upset children. Avoid using threats or bribes.
- Let the photographer coax the smile or reaction out of your child. It's their job! (And having multiple people try to make a child smile can confuse him/her.)
- If the photographer asks you to help get a smile, stand directly behind the camera so the child is looking in the right direction when he/she smiles.
- If your child does have a melt down or a crying fit, let it happen, and then let it pass. You'd be surprised how fast kids can be back to normal.
- Expect babies, toddlers (and dare I say it? dads, too) to be "done" after 45 minutes to an hour of shooting.
- Remember, a family shoot is fun, but it's also work (for everyone). It's very appropriate to go out for ice cream or enjoy a treat together after the shoot.