In the very first 5 minutes when a family shows up I can already tell how the shoot is going to go. Kids (adults even) need time to warm up. When you arrive at a shoot don’t expect the first shots to be all smiles. We need time to get to know one another and the kids need time to think my camera is not there. Often, I notice parents frustration when their little one is not being cooperative right away, so they start to nag: ”Come on, smile!”, “Don’t ruin the pictures!”, “Smile and you can have a treat!”. I can tell you one thing saying things like that will do… ruin the pictures. My husband and I have been guilty of this in the past with our own children and it always got us nowhere.
I understand the stress level of the parents. They have paid the money, picked out that perfect outfit and actually got out the door on time… or close to on time. The thought of doing it again can be overwhelming. Here is why you don’t need to worry and how you can make the day fun instead of stressful.
The first pictures are going to be more serious – they just are. This is usually the time I will sit and talk to the child, let them walk around and show me stuff, let them look at my camera, and the very-important-conversation about the toy they can pick at the end from the goody box I bring. Just so you know, these are almost always my favorite shots.
After that the smiles come easy. Let me take care of it and you just relax. I will get my shot. Let them get dirty. Let them have fun. You don’t want to have that picture hanging in your house to remind you how awful and stressful that day was! You want to look at it and remember, “the kids had so much fun that day”, and “come to think of, so did I!”