Booking in a family session with young children can cause quite a lot of anxiety. What should I wear? What should my children wear? Will they behave? Endless questions running through your mind. I'm here to tell you it doesn't have to be this way. Family sessions are a lot of fun. Follow these tips and I will garauntee you success at your next family session.
1. Dress for the weather and location.
If you have planned an outdoors family session, be sure to dress for the climate and location. Young children dislike being cold. And it will be sure to put them in quite the mood if they are at the beach, in winter, and wearing a summer dress. Layer in leggings and beautiful knit jumpers. Cute hand knitted beanies or scarves that Nanna knitted (imagine her joy seeing her grand-babies in her knits). Winter outfit combinations are endless.
It's also a great idea to bring a spare change of clothes. I can't tell you how many times children have gotten their outfits wet, as soon as we have walked onto the beach. Accidents happen, and it's best to be prepared so you can roll with it, and have a great time!
2. Love up on your kids.
Kids love attention. Your pure undivided attention. What do parents hear all day every day?
"Mum, watch me do this?"
"Did you see that Dad?"
"Hey Mum, look at this trick"
This time with your family and young children, is the best time to give them your full attention. Watch them closely, follow them, interact with them. Explore with them. If you're at the beach, ask them to collect shells with you, look for whales, write your name's in the sand. Play chase, tag and spin them around till they are dizzy with excitement. Bring them in close and give them a BIG bear hug. Tickle them, bring their face close to yours and whisper in their ear how proud you are of them. Sprinkle love everywhere at your session. Throw it around like glitter and you will be guaranteed the most beautiful love soaked images.
3. Fill those bellies.
Nothing makes a toddler grumpier than being hungry (I like to call it "hang-gry"). In fact adults are pretty grumpy when hungry too. Fill those bellies before your session to avoid any meltdowns. If your session is booked at what would normally be their dinner time, try and have your meal earlier than usual. Fill up on wholesome food that will keep their bellies satisfied. Lollies and high GI foods before a session will only lead to disaster. Try and save treats for the trip home.
And try not to put your child in their outfit until after they have eaten. As I can guarantee you spills will happen, and the last thing you need is to be searching for a new outfit at the eleventh hour.
4. Have a normal day.
This might sound like a strange one, but hear me out! Children thrive off routine. A missed nap can end in World War III for a toddler. Everything suddenly becomes all to difficult for them. Much like us adults after a night of no sleep. Make the day of your session as normal as possible. Sticking to meal and nap times as closely as you can. Now this may be difficult if you are travelling before your session. If this is the case, try a car nap. Or keep your day as boring as possible. A trip to a busy shopping centre or over stimulating play centre, right before a family session, would not be ideal. Think about ways you can keep your day calm, and conserve their energy, to allow for a great evening.
5. Be yourself.
This one is as simple as it sounds. Be your genuine self, and let your children do what they do best, be kids. Family photos are no longer stiff, posed images, of everyone saying "Cheese". This image might be great for your yearly Christmas card, but it's not an accurate representation of your family. And is this how you want to be memorialised? I know I don't.
If you are a family that has day trips to the beach often, then do what you normal do. Hang out together and play. I'll pose you and prompt you into positions flattering for the camera. But I don't need your children to be looking at me and smiling. I want them looking at YOU and smiling. I want to capture their love for you. The ear to ear smile that your tickles bring. The joy on their face, when you throw them up in the air. Their little chubby hands, wrapped around your neck. Their little toes covered in sand because they threw their shoes off as soon as they hit the sand. The little whips curls at the back of their neck while your holding them close for a cuddle. These images are what you want documented. To look back on in years to come. To remember the beautiful chaos that small children bring into our worlds. Our greatest possessions aren't things, but memories, these memories.
If you follow these 5 tips, I can promise you, your final images will be the most authentic to you as a family. You will walk away having had such a fun evening with your children, and even Dad will say "That wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, it was actually a lot of fun".
If you have a family session coming up, be sure to save these tips for later. And share with family and friends who may find it helpful. And if you think I have missed something important, please send me an email and let me know. Nothing makes me happier than family sessions that flow like an autumn breeze.
Thanks for reading. Be sure to subscribe for more tips and tricks at www.thedarlingfolk.com