Step 1: Relax
If you’re nervous, your child (especially if they are under age 4) will probably get nervous right along with you. So take a deep breath and remember that this is going to be totally different than any photographic experience you might have had elsewhere. All kids have a great time here, but we should warn you: lots of kids get upset when it’s time to leave the studio. Guess you could say they had a good time!
Step 2: Two things to avoid
First, please don’t coach or tell your child to smile, either at home or at the studio. Children are excellent smilers when they do it naturally. Leave the smiles to us, so you don’t have to put any extra pressure on yourself or on your child.
Second, don’t tell your child that they are coming in to have their picture taken. Many children leave the studio never even know they had their portrait done. If you have to tell them something, just tell them you’re going to do something fun.
Step 3: Pick comfy clothes for your child
In our 25+ years of photographing children, we’ve found one thing to be true: they’re not real formal people. This is not to say that a new Easter outfit won’t work or that it has to be jeans, but keep it comfortable. Here are few tips to help you pick an outfit that both your child and the camera will love:
Keep it simple. The more complex the outfit, the more likely it is that part of it will be out of place during the session.
Choose colors and patterns that make your child the star of the show. In other words, select an outfit that doesn't compete with your child for attention when you look at the image. We suggest all light colors, all dark colors, or a mixture of mid-tones. Avoid strong primary colors, high contrast outfits (e.g., light top with dark bottoms or vice versa), or fabrics with strong patterns.
Shoes are optional. Don’t spend a lot of time searching for the shoes. In most cases, we prefer bare feet, and so do the children. We’d rather see cute little toes than the bottom of a shoe.
Save hats for the end. We love hats, but to avoid crushing the child’s hair or making them mad, we tend to save them for the end.
Confused? Don’t be! If you’re not sure what you want your child to wear, just bring a long 3 or 4 things and we’ll help you pick the one that will photograph best.
Step 4: Arrive at the studio
When you first get to the studio, we plan the first 10-15 minutes to help you get settled in and let your child get comfortable with us. This is play time, but it's important because it lets your child get comfortable with us, and it lets us see what kind of things your little one reacts to. During this time, the best thing you can do is sit back, relax and enjoy the show...the silliness is about to begin. Remember, it's okay to arrive a few minutes early but avoid coming too early because in most cases there's a session scheduled before you and we don't want to use up your child's patience just waiting.
Step 5: Quiet on the set
We consider you part of our team, and you’re welcome to join us on the set. Children usually feel more comfortable with you there, and sometimes we even need your help. The only thing we ask is that you try not to talk out loud while we’re working with your child. Your voice is the most familiar sound in the world to them, and they will invariably look right at you when we need them to be looking somewhere else.
A note on bribes
We’re not above a little bribery as a last resort, but we caution parents not to start with a bribe. A properly placed bribe is a thing a beauty and cab prove highly effective if the timing is right. For this reason, we have a whole treasure chest full of bribes that everyone (even those who don’t need bribes) get to select from before they leave. As a general rule, let us bring up the bribes, and you can save yours as a last resort.