I’m so excited we’ve got another Business Journey podcast episode for you today! As a family photographer in Nashville, TN this one resonates really well with me personally. I’m sharing tricks for getting kids to cooperate for family photos! Honestly, I LOVE photographing families with young toddlers. I think they’re so much fun!! But I know for many family photographers, the idea of working with little ones can be super stressful. It can be difficult – so I totally get it. But, over the years, I’ve found some tricks work really well to get kids to cooperate, so I want to share them with you!
Before we jump in too far, I want to remind you of two things: my FREE class for marketing secrets and Behind the Lens membership! My free class is allll about my marketing secrets. I’m seriously sharing the things I do to market for my business and for my mini-sessions. Whether you’re new to the game or looking to up level your business, take a look! And don’t forget about my Behind the Lens membership. This is a membership for family photographer where I take you behind the scenes on real sessions with me, as well as provide monthly masterclasses about specific topics. Now, let’s dive into our topic today!
I know this seems really basic, but it can make a huge difference in how the session starts out. By putting the family together first, I get a good feel for their family dynamic, which helps me guide the rest of the session. Not only does this help me, but help the kids as well. If they realize everyone – including mom and dad – are okay with me, they often realize it’s okay if they relax and have fun with me too. Plus, putting everyone together at the start is just way less stressful for everyone overall! No one’s being called out right away.
Not every kid is going to pose perfectly and stand there an entire session. I mean, with two kids of my own to think about, I’d be surprised if they did! Normally, they’re in a new environment and someone they don’t know is “in” their face with a camera. So let the kids lead. If they need time to run around, let them. Capture some action shots while they’re doing that! By capturing some of these candids, I still allow the kids to relax and get more comfortable with me without wasting any time.
Find out what they like! Are there songs you can sing for their attention? Is there a phrase that makes them laugh? Whatever it is, listen and ask – then run with it. Allow the parents to help here since they know best. You’ll be surprised how many times I’ve gotten great laughs out of silly songs or repeating something someone said during the session. You can ask during the session about they stuff, but I also send a questionnaire to my families beforehand so I have an idea of what to expect for the kids – and so I can prepare!
Let’s be real, even with all of our best efforts, sometimes kids just need a little extra push. So don’t be afraid to play games with them! For young kids, I’ll jump around, play peekaboo, make super obnoxious noises… whatever it takes to get those little smiles. You can even tel the kids they can run for a little then they have to smile, or something similar! You’d be amazed at how quickly that brings out the laughs, too. That brings me to my last trick…
This might be my favorite trick of all to get kids to cooperate during family photo sessions. Encourage the parents to bring candy or snacks to bribe their kids. No, it’s seriously IN my final email reminder because that’s how much I think this works. I let the families decide what will work best for their kids (and so we don’t have any issues with allergies or anything like that!), but it’s amazing how much it helps. I am NOT below bribery when it comes to getting those smiles.
So there you have it! Those are my top 5 tips to get kids to cooperate during family photos! I know that these tricks might not change everything during a session, but generally they do work to get a few smiles in there. If you’re looking to see how I use these tricks in real time, make sure you join me over in Behind the Lens! I can’t wait to hear how your family portraits go!
Start with the whole family first! (2:59)
Follow their lead. (4:10)
Get to know the kids. (4:51)
Play games! (7:05)
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