Family pictures are such an amazing thing to invest in. You’ve booked me as your Utah family photographer. You spend so much time pouring over Target’s or Old Navy’s websites looking for the perfect outfits for your family to wear. You spend tons of time emailing back and forth with your photographer, hammering out details. You spend your hard earned money on a photo session, and dreams of images where your children and husband are smiling and posing perfectly. Then you get to the actual session, and your kid wants absolutely nothing to do with it.
I’m a mom. I get this all too well. And its not just for family pictures. My kids don’t want to cooperate with me on anything a lot of the times. Dinner time? No cooperating. Picking out weather appropriate outfits? Check. Bedtime? No way Jose. Kids can be downright the worst to deal with sometimes, am I right? Its a good thing they are so cute and we love them so dang much 😂
I’ve had many family sessions where kids just aren’t having it. They either pout and throw tantrums, or they just want to run around, no matter what mom and dad say. Guess what? If your kid has done this, they are TOTALLY NORMAL. But as a Utah family photographer who’s been in the game a long time, I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve to get those little kiddos to come join in on the family picture fun.
This is my first go to for all kids, not just those that don’t want to cooperate. I love playing games like ring around the rosy, tag, tickle fights, patty cake, etc. Games are a great way to get kiddos to join in. Especially if mom and dad are up for playing. This is key. As a parent, I know you’re tired, I know you’ve played tag a million times with your kid before and you’re bored of it. I’m totally that mom that would rather sit and color or do a puzzle than play games like tag. But if you’re willing to play and interact, your kids will love it, and you’ll get some super cute images of you all playing and interacting with each other.
Kids LOVE to help out. My 4 year old Raegan loves to help me out with anything and everything, and she loves when I ask her for help. Its makes her feel needed and important. To a kid, I don’t think there’s any better feeling than that. If kids are getting antsy taking pictures, I’ll have them take a break and shoot just mom and dad for a minute. I’ll often ask the kiddos for help making mom and dad laugh by making silly faces or telling jokes. I also will ask them for help in choosing where to take our next set of pictures. It really helps the kids feel like they are so important, and makes them trust me, which is my goal for every session.
I am definitely not above a good bribe. Snacks and drinks work great during the session. If your kids are a little older, you can try ideas like taking them bowling or to the movie of their choice if they behave during family pictures. You know your kid best, so bribe them with something that will work for them. Every kid is different so I can’t give you a one size fits all answer here. But I can tell you that going out for ice cream after pictures has been a bribe I’ve heard from a lot of my family clients!
Have you ever had an experience with a business where they went the extra mile and actually got to know you? How did that make you feel? Probably pretty great, right? Kids are the same. They love talking about themselves. I always talk to my kiddo friends during sessions and get to know them. I’ll ask about their favorite colors, foods, movies, superheroes/princesses, books, etc. I ask them about school and what their favorite thing to learn about is. I ask about family dynamics. I want to make them feel special by getting to know them and their interests. I also send out questionnaires to all my clients before our session that gives me amazing insights into your family. This allows me to get to know your family beforehand and come prepared because I already know a little about your children.
Sometimes kids just don’t want anything to do with pictures, even after doing all of what’s mentioned above. And that’s OK! If that is the case, we will follow them around and get down on their level. Maybe they just want to go exploring. Do they have a favorite toy they just want to play with? That’s totally fine. We can all play together. Getting down on their level shows that you care about them and their needs/interests more than getting those Pinterest perfect pictures. And if you do that, I promise you, you’ll have images better than Pinterest because they’ll be so much more special to you. They’ll mean more and show what your family was like at that stage of life.
Just remember, your kid is totally normal. Try not to stress, which I know is so hard. I’m a Type A personality and I stress over everything. But the more stressed out you are, the more stressed out your kid will be. Just go with the flow, and your session will turn out great. Pinky promise.
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I'm a Utah family, motherhood, and boudoir photographer. My sessions are all filled with dramatic, bold, colorful, and emotive storytelling images. I'm a girl mom x2, chocolate chip cookie and Diet Coke obsessed, enneagram 8, and fantasy lover.