Tips for a Stress-Free Picture Day
May 4, 2017
When it comes to family picture day, a lot of stress is typically associated with days leading up to the session, but there is also stress on the day OF the session and sometimes, during the session! Here are some tips:
Find the outfits you want everyone to wear in advance and set them aside somewhere safe. Then try them on a week ahead of time to ensure everything still fits comfortably and that you didn’t miss any stains or holes that you couldn’t see until they were being worn. Keep the clothes together (sorted by person) and place them somewhere free from harm and dirt. Be sure to tell everyone that these are picture clothes and not to be worn until picture day. This will help to be sure that no articles of clothing go missing. Don’t forget about shoes, jewelry, belts, and other accessories.
About three to four days prior to the session, start talking with your kids about the session and what will happen and how they should behave. If you plan to use a bribe, now is a good time to setthat in place. (By the way, there is no shame in using a bribe! As a photographer, I’m going to give you the green light and tell you that it’s OK to bribe your kids for the sake of good photos).
We have a very limited amount of time to get all of the photos that you need, and I don’t want you to be stressed out or feel crunched for time because little Timmy is having a meltdown, is hiding behind his hands the entire session, or sticking his tongue out at me. So, I welcome bribery with arms wide open.
Here are some bribery suggestions that we’ve noticed have worked.
- Candy or fruit snacks
- Dinner at their favorite restaurant after the session
- Later bedtime
- That awesome toy they’ve been drooling over
- Extra TV time
- A sleepover with a friend
- Extended play time
- They don’t have to eat their vegetables that night at dinner
- They don’t have to do chores the next day
- Give them back a privilege that’s been taken away the last time they were in trouble
Continue to talk to your children daily to prepare them for the session.
Two days prior to the session, pack a bag of everything you will need on picture day – snacks, props, bribery, etc. and put it somewhere you can grab it and go. Be sure to include wipes in case things get messy, an extra hairbrush, and other “emergency” items, such as bobby pins and a backup lipstick.
On the day of the session, make sure everyone is well fed, but not overfed. We don’t want sick little tummies from overeating, but we don’t want anyone getting “hangry” (angry because they are so hungry) either. Do not get your family dressed in their photo clothes until after they have eaten and brushed their teeth. This will prevent spills and other messy accidents.
If you have young children, avoid any colored drinks, lollipops, or any other snack items that can stain the lips on the day of the session until after we are finished. Also, get them to wear a bib or drop cloth if they drink anything on the way to the session to save their shirts from wet spots or stains.
Once you get to the session, try to relax. If you have set a bribe, please let me know so I can use that throughout the session if the children get restless. Trust your photographers – know that I will take care of things and will deliver amazing photos of your family.
If you are feeling stressed DURING the session, take some deep breaths. Deep breathing is a common relaxation method. It can quickly calm your stress level and you can do it anywhere. Breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth, counting slowly in your head while letting it all out. Other things you can do that could be helpful during the session:
- Laugh! Laughter is a great way to release tension. It will also help your family relax to get some genuine smiles. Have everyone pretend to laugh and they will feel so ridiculous that they will actually laugh. This will ease everyone into relaxation mode.
- Distract yourself. If your family isn’t cooperating and you are getting stressed, suggest that we play a game or take a walk. This will let some of the energy out and also give us some good interacting photos. Prior to your session, think of a short game that your family would enjoy – it could be something like duck, duck, goose, or dancing to head, shoulders, knees, and toes, etc.
- Give lots of XOXOs. Not only will these make for cute poses, but one of the most effective ways to relieve stress is to hug someone or to kiss them. Gather your family in a big group hug, or give your husband a kiss and let your worries melt away.