Nearly every parent that we’ve photographed has had a moment during their session when they turn to Iain and say, “I’m so sorry my kids aren’t behaving, how are you going to get a good photo out of this?” Trust us, Iain is a magician when it comes to getting the best out of kids – it’s what we do!
Being parents ourselves, we know all too well how unpredictable young kids can be. An angel one day and then a monster the next for no apparent reason, and that’s what makes parenting fun!
In every session, our goal is to capture your child’s unique personality and the special way they interact with you and their siblings and that’s why our photos look so natural. So, if you have loud, active kids who never sit still, that’s what we will photograph. If your child is more the pensive, thoughtful, quiet type, that’s what we will capture.
Basically we aren’t looking for your kids “to behave” – just be themselves and hopefully have fun. Every child is different… although that said, I don’t think we’ve met a boy under 10 who doesn’t love a poo/fart/bum joke!
The key to a successful session starts in the first 10-15 minutes when Iain will spend this time getting to know your kids and gaining their trust before he even gets the camera out of the bag. We’ve also got a few tricks up our sleeve and things you can do at home beforehand to capture your kids at their best:
1. Positive thinking
In the lead up to the session, be positive and excited and tell them how much fun it will be without going into too much detail about what you expect. Leave the anxious “but what are we going to wear? Or “what if it rains?” conversations with your partner for after they have gone to bed.
Don’t tell your kids that they “have to behave for Iain” or offer bribes if you can avoid it, otherwise they will just obsess about that lolly or ice-cream the whole time. And if you’ve brought snacks, hide them away, only to be used as a last resort. It’s best to start the session on a full tummy and leave the messy, sticky food for much later.
2. Cut the cheese
Don’t worry if your child isn’t looking at the camera, the best photos will be when they are interacting with you and each other and basically just lost in the moment. Iain will use his sneaky tricks to get everyone looking at the camera when he needs to, but he will mostly step back and let the kids be themselves.
3. Avoid distraction
The shoot location should be a private space for you and your family with no spectators or distractions such as a playground or other people. We’ve photographed hundreds of families and know how to find the best quiet spots with flattering light, beautiful backdrops and protection from wind or bright sun.
If there’s extra friends or family members who want to be in the photos that’s great, but otherwise send them off on a little walk around the park so your kids can play like there’s no one watching.
4. It’s a matter of time
Choose time of day when kids are their most awesome. For most toddlers, this tends to be mornings, but we will work together with you to maximise the chances of having happy kids. The best way to do this is to watch their mood over the next two days – when are they happiest? When do they put on the cranky-pants? When does the stressful life of a toddler all just get too much!
5. Sharing is caring
In the lead up to the session, tell us about your kids with as much information as possible through the online questionnaire and pre-session phone call, so we can treat them as individuals with unique personalities. We find that kids get really excited and respond positively to specific references based on their favourite character or shows or family in-jokes.
6. Take the pressure down
And finally, let’s take the pressure off. We all have off days, and kids are no different. If your child isn’t their normal happy self on the day of the session, we will be happy to reschedule to another day for you with no charge. Some families only get a chance to take time out for a portrait session every few years, so we want to help you make it a great experience.