Kids will be kids.
Everyone wants to capture that fabulous photo of your children/family at every stage of life, right? Sometimes the moments captured are funny and adorable BUT when kids get in front of a potential stranger with a camera, you never know how they will react. From kids endlessly posing for the camera to complete meltdowns, photo shoots can bring out a range of emotions for kids, proving the phrase "kids will be kids" to be true.
With that being said, family photos are still my favorite to capture because of the challenge kids bring to the shoot. There are endless distractions and as the photographer, it is my task to bring them back to the current moment. One of my favorite tricks is to ask them constant questions and find one thing that truly entertains them. Everything from their favorite TV characters to leaves on the ground to telling the same joke over and over have ended up working for me in the past. It's rewarding when you capture a moment of laughter and joy that the parents have envisioned coming away with from the photo session. Allowing the kids to play also leads to some great candid moments and the gives the kids a break from the frustration of having to sit still and smile. I also keep my camera on continuous shooting so that I capture as many shots when that laughter or big smile happens as possible. I usually leave a shoot that has little kids with hundreds of photos in the hopes of having some the work.
Parents are also very helpful with most children when it comes to getting their kids to smile. They know just what to do behind me to make their kids 'cheese' and bring out a real smile. But it also reaches a point where the kids become annoyed with their parents and they refuse to react to any attempts to make them smile. Most parents recognize this and step away and the kids relax a little and the happiness returns. But every kid has bad days and sometimes it is absolutely impossible to capture a photo with that child looking remotely happy. This is why it is important to me to stay flexible with families. I want them to get the best photos possible so if they need to reschedule or work around nap times, I always work with them.
Happy kids (and parents) = happy memories captured.