1) Don't spend a lot of time preparing young children to smile. Making
them smile naturally is my job! We almost never use the word "Smile",
and never use the word "Cheese" when doing a Portrait. Unless a person
has practiced in front of a mirror, you usually can't generate a smile
on command. As every parent knows, children usually have their 'Cheese
Smile', and it usually isn't the one you want in the family Portrait.
Unfortunately, once a 4 or 5 year old starts using the cheesy smile,
it's very difficult to get them to relax and smile naturally. (This
sometimes happens with Dads, too!)
2) Everyone loves a "Kodak Moment", but there is room for only one
camera on my dune....OURS! There are several reasons for this;
A) Children will always pay more attention to someone they know that's
holding a camera than a stranger (US).
B) Snapshot time at home is frequently time for clowning around. This
is fun at home, but not conducive to a great family Portrait, and
again it is hard to get children to relax and cooperate once the
clowning has started.
C) When others take photos while I work, it frequently ruins what I'm
trying to capture. (we will end the session immediately w/out
D) Remember, the best light last for only a short time; Please help me
do the job you hired me for, with the least distractions.
3) Many times during the summer, I photograph young children who are
experiencing their first family portrait. Experience has taught me
that if I start by photographing the oldest generation first, the kids
get a better idea of what is going on, and what is expected of them.
By getting some of them to 'help' me, we become friends and things go
very smoothly. Please remember that children follow the example of
their elders. If dad or granddad sticks his tongue out at the camera,
or put 'horns' on someone else, guess what happens when we have the
whole family posed for the real Portrait! Please set a great example,
we'll end up with a great Portrait!
4) Every once in a while, there is one family member present under
protest usually it is a teenage male, sometimes an older male. The
battle is half over if they actually showed up! A gentle reminder that
it will be over sooner, and they won't have to do it over, if they
just cooperate for a few minutes usually helps. If there is a real
battle brewing just under the surface, let me know before we start; it
helps to know to handle someone gently, or to avoid them entirely!
5) Finally, Relax! Plan to have fun and enjoy the experience, and
everything will work out. It almost always does!