Hi, Chynna Dolls!
Family portraits can be some of the most challenging shoots. Clients often go into these shoots with a set of adorably creative poses from Pinterest, and five minutes into the shoot they quickly realize that they are not the ones in charge – their children are! So, when your child throws a fit in all of his or her glory, the photoshoot transitions from Pinterest perfection to a real life struggle, often leaving parents feeling frustrated, rushed, and discouraged well before the shoot is over. So, I thought it would be helpful to compose a list of tips to combat a chaotic family shoot. Let’s get to it!
• Get the group shot first. Parents can take individual shots of their kids anytime, right? All day long, in fact. When taking the extra step to book a family session, trust me when I say that the most important shots you will get will be the shots with EVERYONE. So, carpe the damn diem and snap the family shot first.
• Schedule longer sessions. Plan for the unexpected! Encourage your clients to book a longer shoot. You may think 30 minutes is sufficient, but go the safe route and request an hour. That way, you can have time to shoot as well as stop for breaks, if need be.
• Engage with the children as much as possible. The kids are the stars, and the entire shoot revolves around their contentment. If they are old enough to talk, ask them what they like to do. Engage! Create a comfortable atmosphere for them.
• Capture some silly pictures. Let the entire family, not just the kids, take a few silly pictures. When you see their interest fade, ask the family to break into a silly pose or even take a dance break in exchange for a smile. Knowing how to do the “Ju Ju on that beat” dance saved my behind during a shoot with some kids who were completely over it.
• Bring noisy baby toys. Rattles and other noisy toys will keep babies engaged and looking towards you, too. Rattles, clappers, anything that lights up, and so forth.
• Offer lots of high fives and positive reinforcement. Make the children (and parents) feel like superstars. The more confident they feel, the more natural reactions you will receive. Share compliments like, “You look amazing!” and “Great job, everyone!”
• If parent approved, offer a treat or snack as a reward at the end of the shoot. No explanation needed.
Also, and equally as important as the above-mentioned tips, remain patient. Even if the shoot is going horribly, parents typically only want a few good shots of everyone together so they can frame them or share with others. So, do your best to capture those money shots, and leave your worries behind. Happy kiddies make happy parents, and happy families make for amazing pictures, too (and repeat clients).
Dolls, don’t be shy – message me with your questions, thoughts, collaboration requests!