Raise your hand if you ache to have your family life beautifully documented, encapsulated for years to come. Now raise your other hand if you are a parent of a tiny human with a mind of their own, plans of their own, and little attention span for an adult’s hopes and dreams.
If you currently have both hands waiving in the air, I see you.
It can be incredibly challenging to navigate getting the photos of your family that you envision while managing little people. What if they are paralyzed by shyness? Over the top full of energy? Melting down in tears? What if they won’t cooperate? What if you’ve driven all the way from Calgary to Banff for a session in the mountains and upon arrival, they want nothing to do with it? The what ifs can often cause an incredible amount of stress in parents who are investing in beautiful documentation of their family. I get it. You are not alone.
But the good news is that I have a secret weapon for success. And it’s almost 100% effective in almost all kid related sessions. It’s just one four-letter word. (And nope, not the kind you utter in stressful frustration.) Ready? Here it is: P-L-A-Y.
Yep. That’s it. Simple. The thing about children, is that they are wired for curiosity, exploration and interacting with the world around them. It’s not that they are trying to bring us stress and frustration, it’s that they live for movement, for creating and for games. A family session experience that allows and empowers your kids to be kids will produce 100000x better results than one where the kids are bribed from the very beginning into formal, look and smile, listen and sit poses. (Tip: Speaking about bribing. I’m not suggesting that incentives for a family session are bad. Oh, no way! Haha, not at all. Done well, at the right times, they are very helpful! However, young kids have a hard time willingly delaying gratification, which can actually sideswipe the success of a family session if the awaited incentive is promised at the end. Instead, plan for small, easy to manage and achieve incentives – such as snacks! – on call and ready to go, if needed, throughout the session.)
Here’s the power of play for kids during a family photo session with me:
We’ll first warm up by getting to know each other, and then we’ll play, sing, pull out silly voices, giggle and explore our surroundings. All the while, we’re getting these moments, just a few seconds at a time, with faces at ease and of joy. It really is magical. And so much more successful than telling a toddler to constantly “look at the camera!” (That gets really old for them really fast.)
It’s simple. Not always easy, but worth it a million times over. It’s a beautiful reminder to us as parents to slow down, release the pressure of ‘getting that perfect photo’ and just be present. The portraits that are created during this time are usually more representative of your family anyways – of all of you in the frame together, doing you. Let’s capture more moments of childhood bliss being together and stress less about the what ifs that could wrong. When I photograph your family, I guarantee we will capture gorgeous memories. I promise I’ve got you covered. Kids will last an incredibly long time during a family session, if they are free to be kids and don’t realize they are in the spotlight.
Still not sure? See for yourself! This session is the perfect example of what I’m talking about.