Let your child know about the shoot a while before. Talk about how much fun its going to be and build excitement. You want them to be comfortable with the idea. I know I prefer to be behind the camera, rather than in front and I always have to prepare myself if I am being photographed.
You want to be comfortable so dress for the weather. Cool in Summer and warm in Winter. I always send my clients an email with examples of what to wear, stay tuned for a blog post on what to wear 😉
Try to arrive on time, if not early, a good photographer normally sets a time for a reason for natural light. Best times to shoot are always early morning or late afternoon. If you feel that your kids will not cooperate at a certain time, plan accordingly. Rushing to a shoot never helps the situation especially if the kids are not happy with the idea.
Always best to make sure you are all “fed and watered” before a shoot. I know I get “Hangry and unpleasant” if I haven’t eaten or had my morning coffee. Also bring snacks and water with you to the shoot.
Maybe bring an activity you all like doing as that sometimes breaks the nervousness. And a favourite toy for the photographer to hold by the camera to get your little darling to look in that direction.
BRIBERY WORKS!! Yes we think we are great parents and don’t have to resort to it but in this case it can go a long way. It doesn’t have to be chocolate it can be an outing/ play date/ new toy… Ok let’s call it a reward then 😉 and let your child know if they are good, they get a Reward
Don’t try to be the director at the shoot. Kids often respond to other people asking them to do things better than their own parents. A good experienced family photographer will know how to get the child to look and smile, and a lot of the time the more natural shots are captured when the child is not being told what to do. I like to shoot more relaxed documentary style over the posed shots and find when I take the kids and play around with them (without the parents being nearby) I get the best shots.
Remember Kids are just kids! They all have tantrums / some are shy sometimes/ some hate being told what to do / some love the camera on them all the time….so just let them be. This is why you choose your photographer carefully, someone who is experienced with kids and understands that everyone does have a bad day too.
45mins for a photoshoot is a long time in a child’s life, let them have some time to have a break / play / breathe between shots.
Finally... RELAX AND HAVE FUN WITH YOUR KIDS… don’t just focus on the final outcome, cherish this time with them to play/ be stupid/ laugh and enjoy.