Did you know that one of the number one things I hear from families is “my son/daughter hates cameras and is really shy, especially around people they don’t know, do you have any tips to help photo day go better than the past?”

The quick answer is 100% yes I do have tips!

First off, did you know that most kids are camera shy not because they don’t like photos, but because they don’t know what to expect on the day of the photoshoot, they don’t know the person who is taking the photos, or worse, a mix of both! It makes sense though right?!? How would we feel if someone we didn’t know walked up to us and just started flashing a big camera in our face? I’m guessing most of us would feel pretty nervous and uncomfortable right? Put in the fact that they are having to get dressed in clothes they don’t normally wear, and told that they need to smile a lot and not get dirty. WHAAATTTTT? That is a lot of stress for a kid. 

Here are a handful of tips to make this session the best session you have ever had.

Bend Oregon

Pick out the correct time slot for your session

Don’t book your session during a meal, normal nap time, or activity (baseball practice, swim lessons). If you ever look at my booking calendar and the only time slots available are during a nap or a meal your child usually eats, please just write to me and see if I have anything available for a time that isn’t that for your family. Chances are I can look and open up something for you at a different time. Nothing will keep a child grouchier and not wanting to take photos then being grouchy and hangry.

Bend Oregon Family Photographer

Pick out their outfit WITH them, not FOR them

 I have a full blog on what not to wear, and that is great to look at before bringing your kid(s) in to pick their outfits. But I suggest picking out 3 of your favorite outfits and letting them choose the outfit from there. This gives you the chance to pick out the color theme you want, but they think that they are getting the overall pick, which they are. It will help them feel more comfortable and confident for the day. If you are picking out new outfits for the day I follow the same rule only slightly differently. Pick out your outfit and your spouse's outfit, then bring them shopping and help guide them to the colors but let them have a say in the final look.

Black Butte Ranch Oregon

Talk to them about the day

Let them know that this is a day to spend with them. Let them know that we aren’t taking the average school photo, but we are going to have fun and play. Tell them it will be between 30-60 minutes and we will have photos with the whole family, a few sibling shots, a few shots of the parents, and a few portraits, but that I will not force them to smile or do anything that feels uncomfortable to them.

Bend Oregon Family Photographer

Show them Pinterest

Sometimes they just don’t even understand photos in general. Go ahead and pull up pinterest and type in family photoshoots with X amount of members. Then just scroll through. Make note of the ones the kids look terrified of, and ones that the kids say they want to do. I have no problem using your ideas as inspiration for your shoot. It will also show them that photos are a normal thing that families do together

Shevlin Park Bend Oregon

Show them MY face

Remember going on those first interviews for a new job and having butterflies in your stomach? You have no idea what to expect, why they are, what the interviewer is like, all of the things? Yeah, your kids get that too with school, new sports coaches, and photographers. So show them my face! Pull up my main instagram or facebook and let them see what I look like, that I have kids and see what we like to do as a family. It will make them feel like they know me a little better. Also, feel free to message me with questions your kids may have about me. What do I like to eat for dinner? What does my family like to watch together? What activities do we play together? Giving them connection points will help calm those nerves of meeting me. (my family a hike down below)

Smith Rock State Park

Let them use your phone and take photos of your family

Show them that photos are fun. Give them your phone and tell them they can be the photographer for X amount of minutes. Ask them to pose you, do silly movements, make them laugh. It will show them photos are fun and not just your “picture day” stay-still thing.

Redmond Oregon

Let them know we play games

Ask what games they can think of that we can play. When it comes to family photos, especially with younger children we play a LOT. I mean a lot a lot. Let them know that. Tell them we play games like red light green light, ring around the rosey, the telephone game, and so much more. Ask them if they have an easy game that they want to play. We can easily put that into the shoot!

Central Oregon

Let them pick out a snack/bribe for after the photoshoot

How many of us have had to bribe our kids to do SOMETHING. This isn’t any different really. Before the shoot (I suggest at least the day before, but not right on the way to the shoot) go to the store and let them pick out a snack for after the shoot. Tell them it will be waiting for them in the car and once the session is done they get it.

Bend Oregon Family Photographer

If they are shy with new people, consider booking a longer session.

This can be a huge help because they can come meet me early, we can sit down together and talk about things that interest them (soccer/baseball/school/a favorite tv show). I can show them my camera and how it works, they can stand by me and take photos of the rest of the family until they warm up.

Black Butte Ranch

Final Thoughts

The biggest thing that is going to derail a photoshoot is putting too much pressure on the kids. Do you want them in nice clean clothes, yes. Do you want them to at least smile in some photos, of course! But that is my job to get those things to happen, don't stress yourself out or your kids when getting them ready for their shoot. Remember, I'm not just a photographer, but I'm a mom too, and I am there to show your family how to connect without the stress. We can do this, and will we succeed? 98 3/4 percent guaranteed, mamas, we will get the photos you want.

Bend Oregon Family Photographer
Sawyer Park Bend Oregon
Bend Oregon Family Photographer
Shevlin Park