They learn by playing. When kids play, they learn how to get along with others, how to control their body, how their actions affect others, and how to follow a set of rules for a group.
As an elementary teacher, I know that kids do not have nearly enough time to play. School is so rigid, with the expectation of behavior and self-control at all time.
I make sure that family sessions contains a mix of silliness, sassiness, and self-control.
I am a master negotiator, able to get smiles and silliness out of a session, and then bring them back in when I need to. As a result, kids feel like they can be themselves.
Children who return to me year after year often show up with a “master plan.” They already know what their “special pose” is going to be, whether it’s a dab, a weird face, or a dance move. I let them do these, because they feel invested and heard. Therefore, they are more willing to cooperate with the adults to get the best family pictures that the parents want as well.
Let the silliness happen. If I feel it needs to be reigned in, I will let you know. If I feel that I need to have a quiet conversation with one of the children or make a deal, I will.
We want kids to enjoy the experience. We hope they leave feeling like they had fun and their ideas were heard. Most of all, we want them to return next year.
Like a previous middle school client said, “Wow. Family photos didn’t suck as bad as I thought they would.” That’s a completely reasonable goal when photographing busy and active kids!
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