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Preparing for a photoshoot with children

So you've booked your family photo session. You've seen photos all over social media of families looking lovingly in to each others eyes and little ones frolicking about, blissfully happy. Then it occurs to you... what if my kids don't behave!! Well let me tell you. There's a good chance they won't. Not because

they're gremlins or undisciplined or anything like that. It's just kids and sometimes they don't want to do what we would like them to. They usually like to do the complete opposite. So here are some suggestions on how you can approach the session with your children to make it as stress less as possible and get the most out of the experience.

The first thing is don't worry! Our littles ones pick up on our stress and if you spend the lead up panicking and uptight there's a good chance they are going to take this as an opportunity to play out. Give yourself permission to take it easy that day and don't overbook your morning so you feel strapped for time. I always suggest bringing children to a session in some regular clothes and then change their clothes once you arrive at the location. Food or dirt on their clothing is then just one less thing you need to worry about. Having said that make sure everyone is adequately fed and watered before you arrive. Hangry is not the vibe we are going for.

When you're all on en route to your location I suggest telling your children that you are having your photos taken and explain that it's going to be fun and a good chance to play with each other. Resist the urge to say things like "you need to be good for the lady", "you need to look at the camera and smile" or ever bribes like "if you behave we will give you an treat afterwards". These types of statements have the potential to make your young one rise to the challenge and think "OK mum, you want us to behave? Game on!". Try to put zero expectations on your kids.

Instead try to look at this as an opportunity to really play and connect with your child. Follow their cues and just go with it. If your child decides to wander off and poke about at some sticks under a tree then why not join them or turn it into a game? Photos where everyone is genuinely enjoying themselves make for a much better photo than everyone sitting together and saying "cheeeeeeese". If someone has a meltdown, we can wait. If they're pulling faces... the novelty will soon wear off. They're being clingy? Totally fine in fact this can make for some of the most beautiful photos! If a child is running forward towards the camera or off to the side and everyone is in the background laughing or chasing, it can make for a totally gorgeous moment. On the other hand if the parents "stress" written all over their faces then the vibe is ruined.

And finally please know that I come with ZERO judgement. I have 2 rambunctious boys of my own. They do what they're told about 40% of the time. There is no BAD behaviour. There is just your child's behaviour; it is unique, it is their personality, their temperament and it is what makes them them. I'm all about capturing real life and real connections in whatever form that comes. You want to look back on your photos and see your child exactly as they are now. I don't know about you but when I think about my children it isn't about them standing perfectly still with model smiles looking straight down the lens of the camera. It is playing in the dirt, teasing, tackling, being silly, laughing and cuddling up to us their parents and that is what I aim to capture for your family.

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