How NOT to Stress Out About Family Pictures with Young Kids | Milwaukee Family Photographer

How Not to Stress Out About Family Pictures with Young Kids

Every mom’s greatest fear about young kids and family portraits.

Your sweet little ones are only young once, and you want to document this time. You convince your husband that you need to update your family pictures, plan out the perfect outfits, spend forty-five minutes finishing your hair and makeup, manage to get the kids dressed and in the car with both shoes, only to get to your session and it hits.

COMPLETE. EPIC. CHILD. MELTDOWN.

WHAT HAPPENED? ARE WE GOING TO GET AT LEAST ONE GOOD PHOTO?

Trust me when I say this is the biggest concern of any parent of young kids, and with good reason. Toddler and child tantrums are a well documented phenomenon that often occur without warning!

IT HAPPENED. WHAT CAN WE DO NOW?

First let me start out by saying I taught special education with a speciality in emotional and behavioral disorders for years. There is next to nothing that your child can do that is going to stress me out or make me think WOAH.

Parenting is hard. I know it from my own two rambunctious and stubborn boys. I am not judging you for having a child who has a meltdown. You are amongst friends here.

So with that being said, let’s start by relaxing. They are clearly upset by the situation. Together we can find a way to calm them down and capture that smile that warms your heart.

You know your child best. Just let me know what they need, and I will do the best I can to accommodate. Taking a break, helping me shoot photos of the rest of the family, going for a walk or a snack may be all your little one needs to turn it around.

SO WHAT CAN WE DO TO PREVENT IT?

I am sure your goal as a parent would be to prevent the meltdown from ever taking place. It may not always be possible, but there are a few things we can do to help your kids:

Talk to them a few days before the session.

You can tell them my name and even show them my picture. Explain that we are taking a few family pictures. Let them know that while for some of the session they will be sitting or standing and looking at the camera, the entire session won’t be that way. I love to document moments of your family interacting, laughing and playing. Letting your child know they are able to jump around a little and have fun at the session may help them relax about it.

Well fed and fully rested children are the happiest during a session.

I aim to take your portraits during golden hour which provides the most flattering light. However, if that crosses with a meal or nap schedule your child’s needs come first. Please let me know and we will coordinate a time and location that will work best for your family.

Try to relax yourself.

If you feel frantic and stressed, chances are so do your children. It is easier said than done sometimes, but trying to stay calm can help your kids during your session.

Start with the fun.

If you get to your family session, and your child is apprehensive please let me know. We can start out the session running around, playing ring around the rosy or other fun games. When your child is feeling more comfortable, we will transition to family posed images.

Praising your child.

If you do nothing else, praising your child throughout the session is the number one thing that can help prevent a meltdown. Even if it is something small, praising your child leaves them wanting more. Kids respond well to positive reinforcement, so be their cheerleaders!

Last, but not least pack reinforcements.

Bringing to your session your child’s snacks, favorite toys and water can make all the difference. I know I am not a happy camper when I am hungry or thirsty. Having a few essentials on hand at your session is always a great idea.

In the end remember that meltdowns happen, and we will figure this out together!

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Hi! I am Ali Bergen, a wedding and portrait photographer specializing in timeless and joy-filled imagery. I photograph weddings and portraits in Milwaukee, Hartford and all around the great state of Wisconsin.

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