Picture this: you’re the parent of a small child between the ages of 0-10 years old. You’ve invested time and energy into searching google for the perfect family photographer. You spent hours scouring Pinterest looking for coordinating, but not matching, family outfits. A lot is riding on this one hour time block during which you hope to get those dreamy, connected family images you’ve been picturing. Then….disaster. Your normally happy-go-lucky kid is a cranky mess. What happened?! While not every child is exactly the same, let’s chat about the five most common mistakes parents make before their photo session.
5 Mistakes Parents Make Before Family Photo Sessions
MISTAKE ONE: PACKING TOO MUCH INTO PHOTO DAY
One of the most common things I hear parents say during their session when a kid is acting cranky/tired is “we had a busy day”. While I realize that life doesn’t stop for photos, scheduling several activities on the day of your photo session is one of the top mistakes parents make. Kids who have been overstimulated and done a ton before session time are tired. Mentally AND physically tired. Tired kids are not happy, relaxed, and playful kids. It’s best to keep your day as mundane and low-key as possible prior to your family photos!
MISTAKE TWO: NAP ISSUES
The next most common mistake for kids 3 and under is that they skipped their nap or didn’t have as good of a nap as usual. While *sometimes* this can’t be controlled, a lot of times this is the result of making mistake one above. Being off routine and out and about slightly too long makes for overtired kids who might not take their normal nap. If you’ve got a kid who still takes naps, prioritize nap time on the day of your session! If your kid is a beast when woken early from their nap, late Autumn may not be the ideal timeframe for your family photos! With sunset sessions beginning at 3:00PM, this can commonly interfere with afternoon nap time. Consider September or earlier in the year instead!
MISTAKE THREE: YOUR CHILD IS COLD
This one is mostly relevant for those later Autumn sessions but also can apply to earlier in the year on chillier evenings. Kids who are cold will not be joyful and happy! If you have booked a beach session in early September, bring a cute layer in case it’s breezy. If you have booked a November session, invest in a child’s peacoat or vest that you love and plan for your child to have it on during your session.
MISTAKE FOUR: YOUR CHILD IS HUNGRY
Family photo day is not the day to stick strictly to your normal meal and snack times because in lots of cases, your photo session will be during dinner or afternoon snack. Plan to feed them their favorite foods/snacks right before (or on the way to) your session to make sure they have full bellies. If you think they might be hungry during the session, bring easy non-messy snacks with you! Crackers and puffs are great choices.
MISTAKE FIVE: YOU ARE RUSHING TO ARRIVE RIGHT AT YOUR SESSION START TIME
Have you ever noticed that the faster you are trying to get somewhere, the more your child delays/digs their heels in? Kids don’t like being rushed. Rushing makes parents feel stressed and stressed parents make kids feel on edge. There are also lots of kids who take some time to warm up to new places! Plan to arrive 10-15 minutes before your session starts. This gives you plenty of time to find parking, change your kids, give snacks, and acclimate to a new environment. This is so much less stressful for kids than jumping out of the car and immediately beginning a session.
BONUS: THE GREATEST OF ALL THE MISTAKES
YOU’RE EXPECTING TOO MUCH!
Do you want to know a secret? When I am culling through my pictures after a session (culling means sorting through and selecting the final images), *most of the time* the ones I delete are because of looks on parents faces not their kids. As hard as you might feel your kids are being during your session, the more stressed/mad you get about it, the harder it is for me to find good images. Kids are cute at least 90% of the time. Adults don’t have those same odds. Parents, take some super deep breaths during the session and continually remind yourself to go with the flow! Smile at your kid, laugh at how ridiculous they are being. Snuggle into your spouse and chuckle together at how amusing this stage of parenting is. Kids ages 0-8 (with some exceptions) are not going to perfectly pose and smile. Embrace their true selves and your images will reflect your beautiful family as it is.
Try avoiding these top mistakes for success at your next family photo session!
**Featured is the Ah-Mazing Bush Family - Who did not make these mistakes ;)