Why You Should Never Bribe Your Kids During a Family Photo Session | by Geneva and Vaud Family Photographer
It is hard to get kids to “behave” during a traditional photo session. As a mother of three boys - I do not even want to imagine this! And bribing seems to be an easy fix!
But NO! Bribing is a bad idea… actually always! And especially during your family session.
Kids feel parents' mood really well! When parents start offering bribes - this is a clear signal: "there is something strange going on!". Who can relax in this situation?
Then there are following scenarios how the bribing evolves.
Kids get the bribe, make a cheesy smile for less than a 1 second (because they cannot wait to GET the bribe!) and then... start asking for more! Parents loose patience quiet quickly!
Or your kid get a bribe and looses the interest to take part in a photo session, because now all he is really excited about is his bribe. This happens, when you are using a toy as a bribe. So instead of making him curious and enjoying the time with his family – we are loosing his attention for quite long time!
And the worst one is when parents first offer a bribe and then start threatening to take it away. In this situation the mood gets REALLY bad!
As a photographer I will do my best to cheer your kids up, but with some kids it would not work.
Additionally neither you nor your kids will feel so great after the session and the pictures will rather remind you of this frustrating experience. It is really a pity!
Nobody should expect kids under... 16? to sit still and smile for a few photos. And even less so for a one or two hours family session. Actually sitting still and following directions is not so easy for adults as well. Needless to say they can look quite strange with those frozen smiles.
The smaller your kid is – the shorter is her attention span. And this is great! This will create a beautiful dynamic mood for the session and will result in so many beautiful, spontaneous and natural photos.
My approach to family sessions totally eliminates the problem of kids not “cooperating” for pictures. Because we do not expect them to. During my sessions children get the lead – and yes maybe there will be no traditional „all look at the camera“-photo, but there will be many much more amazing photos you will really cherish.
Instead of bribing your kids, to make them do something they do not what – surprise them to elevate the mood! Bubbles, balloons or some photogenic (!) snacks – are great!
So when your child feels frustrated or stiff, start showing off or hiding or running away - instead of telling "You can have a cookie if you look at the camera and smile!" - rather tell her: "Let us have a super-duper cookie picnic!!!".
You can feel the difference, right? And so can your kid!
The only thing that is important for your family session is that everyone is in a good mood and have fun. Kids are usually very happy when they just get to spend time with their parents, and aren’t being reminded all the time, that there is a photographer you should look and smile at!
Occasionally the mood can go down – so what? - this is a part of life! And those moments sometimes turn out to be your most favourite pictures. When this happens, just soothe your child and let her know that everything is OK.
A propos I can photoshop away all the boogies later, If you want me to! :D
We need to let the kids be themselves - because this is all what really matters and what we would want to remember. If they feel happy, they will look happy.
So let us just have fun and say YES to everything, what comes up during the session. And this works great for not very excited adults as well!
Thank you for reading!
If you are considering a family session with me, please check my autumn outdoor sessions.
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