We hear parents tell their kids “you need to be good and smile” before a photo session. They are kids and that puts too much pressure on them to be “little performers”. I usually prepare my parents by getting them to tell their kids this instead:
We are going to the park to take pictures. It’s going to be lots of fun.
That’s it; NO EXPECTATIONS other than fun!
Mom feel free to bring one of their favorite toys or books. I have bubbles in my camera bag along with my gear. If the kids, don’t want to sit and smile don’t force them. If they want to run around and be kids I’m willing to shoot that. Play with them, make it fun. Then they may cooperate and sit for a bit a few minutes later.
When I’m photographing kids, I make a total fool of myself. I make funny noises, I sing songs, I make fish faces, I play peek-a-boo behind the camera. I’ll lie on the ground and roll around to get their attention. Kids are the ones that have life the right way around, it’s us adults that ruin it. Let them be kids, let them have fun. Then be ready to capture it when it happens.
Last tip is to not take yourself seriously. Create a few really whacky shots at the end of the session (or even in the middle if the energy seems to be fading). Often, they will start laughing and as they pull apart I’ll grab the shot. Do a pile on down in the grass. Ask them to jump in the air or make goofy faces (you make one too). It breaks the tension and lightens up the mood.
We at Unforgettable Moments Photography strive to capture that one true Unforgettable Moment in your session to make the memory last a lifetime.