Yes, its so completely true... when the camera comes out things get nutty! I have so many mamas tell me that their kiddos are normally so calm and quiet. They are surprised by the chaos that can happen at a session. Well, I am here to tell you that I am not surprised by this nor does it phase me- I basically love it because we get some great shots!
However, I do have 6 simple tips to help prepare your kids for your session!
Talk, talk, talk about it!
If the first time you tell your children about our session is the day of we have not set them up for success. You should start talking about it with them the moment we book and have a date on the calendar. Sharing as much information with them as possible and making it as exciting and positive as you are able is the goal. I recommend circling the date on the calendar and reminding them of it often. Even saying things like, "I'm so excited to meet our new photographer friend Cayton! She told me she really likes laughing and having fun and I told her you do too!" I also think telling them about my big black camera will help them feel less intimidated when I meet them for the first time.
Don't force them to wear something they hate.
Just like you want to look your best on picture day they want to be comfortable and feel good too! I would hate for them to dread our session because they do not want to wear a certain dress or a button up shirt. Help them be involved and own their portrait experience by showing them some already approved by us clothing options and then letting them select from those pieces something they like. This is especially helpful for kiddos once they are a bit older and have their own style. They will have a say this way but you and I will know that what they end up picking will photograph great!
So, bribes are not something I'm proud of but lets face it Mamas...they happen sometimes.
The best idea for really creating some excitement for doing a great job at their session with Cayton Heath Photography is having a wrapped gift ready for them. This gift can not be opened until after the session and the fact that it's wrapped and they do not know what it is is key on this one. You do not have to go all out either. My boys love Hotwheels so I have wrapped up Hotwheels for each of them and that works like a charm when I really need them to be motivated. Something wrapped even if it is small is so much more fun and wonderful to look forward to.
If you let me know ahead of time something your kiddos really love I would be glad to do this for you and have a wrapped gift ready for them at your session.
Get Plenty of ZZZ
This may or may not seem obvious but I know for myself and my kiddos that we can handle a new experience way better if we sleep for an adequate amount of time the night before. For my brain to function and my eyes to be less puffy I aim for 8 or more hours of sleep.
Besides sleep, drinking water, and less screen time for the kids before your session can really help with attitudes and focus. I know that screen time may be essential for you to be able to get ready but cutting back always helps.
Pack Simple Snacks & Water
If your children are like mine as soon as we get in the car they are starving. I haven't quite figured it out. I would bring one or two little snacks that are non staining and aren't sticky. Some of my favorites are Fish Crackers, Pretzels, Cheerios (plain), nuts, and cheese sticks. I also recommend putting the snack in a zip lock ahead of time so you aren't fussing with tricky wrappers during the session like on a cheese stick. I do not mind taking a quick snack break during the session or letting one child have a snack while I photograph someone else.
Since many photo sessions are scheduled during the golden hour just before sunset that means that most likely your session will be at dinner time and having a snack during the session can really help kiddos get through.
Most Important- Don't Stress!
Its so hard but it is true. When you are stressed your children can feel that. One of my best recommendations is that you remember that this photography investment is for your family just the way they are and to help you create a lasting and tangible legacy through photographs. Family members of all ages...even dad...can get a bit grumpy before or during a session but if you can have fun and help everyone remember how special this time is then everything will be all right.
I am here for you and will help you every step of the way as your session day moves closer. This is my joy and giving you this experience fills my heart up completely!