- Let the kids be themselves. (Let them have input when picking out clothes, sparkly shoes, black pants that might be sweatpants in disguise, how they wear their hair. Remember, if your kid gets even the tiniest bit of say into how they are dressed, they will be all smiles from the start.)
- Snacks. Snacks. And more snacks. (Dos: For little ones, bringing a few food essentials to ensure your kids have full tummies is always a good idea. Bring cheerios, goldfish. And if you aren’t one for snack breaks, that’s perfect too! Just make sure your kids’ tummies are full before the session. Don’ts: Kramer sized lollipops, or any other colors of the rainbow of the sticky candy variety.)
- A roll with it mentality. (Kids are kids and can be, say it with me, “un-pre-dict-able”. And that, my friend, is okay. I’m going to add another caveat to this bullet. It might not always be a kid that’s unpredictable. On more than one occasion, raccoons caused a ruckus and my amazing clients and I were able to just roll with it. And by roll with it, I mean not freak out.)*
- Relax. (This one can actually be harder than it sounds, but trust me on this. It’s worth it. Here’s the thing, while you may think your little boy is acting silly and goofy and you’re gnashing your teeth together as you utter something along the lines of, “if you don’t stop stop doing that, there won’t be any ice cream later,” I can assure that your child is not misbehaving and that you all deserve that ice cream later. They’re kids and there’s a camera firmly planted not only in front of them, but focused on them. They’re going to be amped up. They’re also going to show off. It’s just the nature of the business. And it’s all going to be okay. I say, embrace the silly, join in the goofy giggles, and hug your little ones closer. Trust me. Those are the moments you will love the most.)
- Have a blast. (This one might be the most important bullet of all. This is your session. Maybe you do several sessions in a year or maybe you are a Christmas card mini session person. Either way, these photos are about documenting your family. As you are. This is the time you aren’t folding laundry, driving the kids to soccer practice, or telling them to turn off the tv and finish their 20 minutes of reading. This is the time you get to pull your babies in your lap, squeeze them tight, smile at the fact that you are present. With your beautiful family, free of outside distractions. And just have an absolute blast.)
* I lied. I totally freaked out when I saw a raccoon, in broad daylight as it scurried under my car. My clients hadn’t arrived at the session location yet so they didn’t bear witness to my panic attack. However, they were nothing short of incredible and willing to change locations for the safety of everyone, but they also were able to point and laugh at me. And for that, I’m forever grateful.