Preparing energetic kids for a session


As a mum of energetic kids I totally get that Mum's a nervous about how the kids are behaving the session.

Do you have the kind of kids that don't sit still even for a minute?

Do you try to go out for a meal, and they last about 5 minutes at the table and then they're wanting to race around the restaurant and check everything out. You never seem to be able to get that relaxing meal at the restaurant. You watch the other family sitting around with the kids at the table behaving normally and dream of having kids that will sit still.

When I see these kinds of a kids arrive at a session I can clearly see the look on mum's face. She's nervous that the kids are going to behave and listen to what they asked to do.

Here are my tips as a mum and photographer about the best way to prepare:

Firstly explain to them what's going to actually happen a session

Have a chat to the kids a few weeks before your session about what's going to happen.

Explain that the photographer is going to take some pictures of you as a family and then the kids together and then the kids by themselves.

Set some expectations of what you expect of your kids.

Explain to them that they need to listen to what the photographer asks them to do.

Reassure them that if they listen and do what they are asked then the session will be quick and easy.

Make sure you ask the photographer how long the session is going to take and then explain that to your kids.

My sessions never go for more than about 45 minutes. Young kids have short concentrations and I would never expect them to be sitting still and concentrating for that whole time.

Reassure them that it will be fun.

Let them pick their own outfits

As a mum we dream of having those perfectly coordinated photos with everyone sitting in white, with hair perfectly brushed, shiny white teeth and kids looking like perfect angels.

The reality is with energetic kids , if you saw a photo of your kids like this it wouldn’t look look like your kids.

I’ve had issues with my kids not liking labels on clothes, not liking certain colours, only wanting to wear one kind of look.

When they are not keen on getting photos done, and then we try to dress them up for the perfect look is most often when the fighting often starts.

So my advice is pick out a bunch of their favourite clothes, lie them on the bed to check which ones roughly coordinate best with each other. Most blues work well together, or grey can work well with blue. Throw in a splash of colour, and it will still work.

Give your kids 2-3 options each. The let them pick which one they want to wear. You will end up with happy kids who feel comfortable in what they are wearing.

When you get to the session

Be guided what your photographer tells you.

I start our sessions by explaining to the family exactly what's going to happen. That way mum knows what to expect and the kids know what to expect.

I find the most nervous person is quite often dad is nervous about having to smile and be told what to do. He has often been dragged along as well.  

Important thing as a mum is just to relax.

An experienced photographer is used to dealing with kids that don't sit still . I have lots of tricks that I know that will help the process go smoothly.

If you get stressed your kids know you're stressed.

Relax and enjoy Your session.

Watch your kids interacting with each other watch them interacting with the photographer.

Having a photo session is about creating memories of this age of your kids. Enjoy those moments of the session happens. Enjoy those little quirks that make your kids who they are. Let me engage with your kids and capture their individual personalities.

Most importantly don't tell them to smile. Kids often have that awful fake smile especially when the age between 5 and 10. As a photographer I have lots of tricks to get them to laugh.

Chris Buechner