While most children are used to having their pictures taken, having a family photo shoot is usually a new experience for them. All of a sudden, there is a stranger standing in front of them with a big camera and an even bigger lens which can be super exciting and daunting at once. It is therefore important that in the first few minutes everyone becomes comfortable with one another. In the past, Andy has achieved this by telling children that he “needed help” setting up the camera or finding a good spot as most kids will love the attention and the opportunity to explore a little. If a child is particularly shy, it can sometimes help to show them the camera and ask them if they can see it “wink” when the shutter clicks.
Once everyone is settled and feeling comfortable around the camera, we try to get the images and poses we want done straight away as children in particular become easily bored or frustrated. If there are any particular poses you must have or images you have seen which inspired you, please share them with us as soon as possible before the actual shoot as that way these will be done first. Early on, kids won't mind sitting on laps or smiling, however, this cooperation seldom lasts for long.
Do not stress!
Even with the best intentions, sometimes a child won’t cooperate even for the first posed photo and although it’s understandable that a parent might feel stressed when this happens, it’s important that you continue to look at the camera and not down at your child who may be pouting. Having a professional camera allows a photographer to take a large number of clicks within a short amount of time and more often than not, Andy is able to elicit a cheeky grin from a child while taking pictures. It would be a shame that if during that brief moment where the child smiling, his or her parents are staring down in distress instead of looking at the camera. And if your child is really not cooperating at all, Andy will just get up and say, “We’ll get one in a few minutes. Let's explore” which will lighten the mood and allow everyone to relax before trying again.
When doing a family photo shoot, it’s important to keep moving as little kids won’t let you stop moving anyway. We don't expect to be able to sit and adjust a pose for more than 20 seconds but instead will tell children (and their parents) to hug or tickle or kiss on the cheek and click away. After that, we will get up and walk to another spot where we have the kids picking flowers or throwing leaves or climbing a tree It is important that we let the children interact with the location and the more the adults join in the better. While moving along will provide a variety of photos, it also allows everyone to release some energy making it possible to try for posed pictures again.
Take a break
While family photo shoots should be short and sweet, there may be times when breaks are needed and if snacks are on hand, even better. Small snacks that don't make crumbs are the best for these occasions such as pieces of fruit, fruit snacks or trail mix as they can be eaten quickly and won't smear all over faces. Cookies or crisps on the other hand can make a big mess as crumbs will be everywhere – on faces, fingers and cloths.