Taking Family Photos: How To Deal With Stubborn Kids

You scheduled the session expecting everyone to be on their best behavior. Everyone is dressed and ready, you show up to the location of the session and BAM, your kid refuses to be a part of what is happening. Like, “ Um hello did you not get the memo, you were supposed to be on your top behavior” what is this!!

And then your husband decides, he doesn't want to be in the picture...

What’s your next move?

If you start bartering with your kids then all your energy is focused on getting them to be happy and smile, leaving you frazzled and overwhelmed. Taking you away from being in the moment. And then the rest of the photoshoot is about having one photo without the lollipop that was used as a reward for something that didn't even happen yet.

Don't freak out. Because if you hired the right person then they'll know how to take care of it. 

Being a photographer isn't only about knowing your camera and how to manipulate your settings well. Or good framing and knowing the best locations…. You gotta be a peoples person. Have your subject feel comfortable in front of the camera while still being personable and being able to connect to them. 

So here are my tips to you: 

Let's start with the husband that hates pictures. Think about it, the last time he was in front of the camera was probably at your wedding!

I always start with “ Don't worry, i'm gonna make it as quick and painless as possible”, this usually lightens the mood. 

It’s really important to be on the same page ahead of time. Work out how long works best for both of you. If you want 30 minutes of his time and he wants to give you 5, 10-15 minutes is a good compromise.  

Hopefully this should do the trick. 

Now let's talk about the kid that didn't get the memo: 

Here are three ways you can move forward:

  1. Sometimes the kid needs some time to warm up. Focus on the other photos you can get. Once they see their older siblings can do it, they might change their mind about how they first felt. If not, it still gives them the time they need to adjust to a new person and place. 

  1. Sometimes, one on one time is all the kid needs. It can be a very overwhelming adjustment with lots of distractions. Let the photographer do their job and maybe some individual attention will do the trick.  

  1. Instead of focusing on having the kid smile and look at the camera, Have them participate in doing something. Like run and give mommy a hug and kiss. Instead of focusing on what they don’t want to be doing, have them shift gears and distract them by doing something with them.

Bonus Tip:

Let the photographer give the direction. It can be overwhelming to have multiple people telling the kids what to do, they often don't know who to listen to and what to do first.

So, Trust that you hired the right person to get the job done, and with this knowledge under your belt, you should be pleased with the results.