Hey, friends, welcome back to the Business Journey Podcast, I'm Rebecca, and I'm so excited to be here again with you today. Today's topic is all about tricks for getting kids to cooperate for family photo sessions. Now, those of you that have been around know that I am a family photographer in Nashville, Tennessee, and I love, love, love, love, photographing families with young kids like give me all the toddlers because I just think they are the most fun. Now, some people, when they hear that, get really stressed out and are like, nope, I can't do toddlers. It's just it's hard. It's definitely hard. And so but for me, I love them. And I've learned a few tricks along the way. So today I want to share those tricks with you. Now, before we get too far, I did want to let you know about a free resource that I have available today. If you wanted to go check it out. I have a free class for mini sessions where I teach all about marketing for many sessions and using marketing secrets that, you know, I use in my own business to help you grow yours. And so if you want to check that out, whether you're new in photography or you've been around for a while, everybody can use sort of an up level in their marketing game. And so that's my goal with this free class. You can check it out at Rebeccaricephoto.com/minis/class . Go check that out. I know it'll be helpful for you. I have so many people that come and attend the class and tell me that they left with pages and pages of notes and that's exactly what I want from you. And it's all for free. So if you have one hour in your day, definitely go check that out, because it's something that you won't want to miss. So let's dive in today to some tricks that I've learned for getting kids to cooperate for photo sessions. This is one of the things that photographers ask me about a lot is why do I do if, like, the kids are not super excited to be there or, you know, are having a hard time focusing and won't just sit still and smile, which, to be honest, is going to be most of the time, which is OK. But there are a few really practical things that you can do to help ease that burden. So the first thing that I like to do to just get us started off on the right foot is I start with the whole family together. So we show up, I get everybody posed. We always start with the whole family, because this helps me to sort of see what the family dynamic is like. And if there are any children that are going to be a little bit more difficult, I get to see that in action with the whole family together. It also gives the kid a chance to warm up to me, knowing that the whole family is there watching and that a lot of times it just helps ease their concerns. If they see like, oh, mom and dad are OK with this person, I can be OK with this person, too. And so I start with the whole family together to give them that chance to warm up. That's a time that I will use their name as much as I can, especially if I notice that they are going to be a little bit more difficult to work with. Then I will interact as much as I can with that child, with the whole family there, you know, getting posed in and taking photos that way. During this time, it's really important to stay flexible that if that child is or maybe they're several, you know, if the kids are not super interested in sitting and taking photos, then I just follow their lead. So, you know, sometimes that means the kid wants to walk around a little bit. You know, it's a new environment. They want to see what's going on. I allow that, you know, we let them walk around a little bit and I follow them, snap some candids of them and just get them comfortable with the fact that I'm there, that I have a big camera, that my camera's not scary, and then I'm going to be taking photos for that amount of time. So that's that's one really important reason that I start with the whole family together so that we're able to really process and see how kind of gauge how that child is going to do. Another trick that I use is I will try and find out some things about that child. What shows do they like to watch ? What songs do they sing ? Are there any funny things that they say ? Like there was this one session that I had that had two very wild boys and they're so sweet, but, man, they're wild. And I was having a hard time sort of getting them to focus and to look at me and stay in one spot. And so as we were going, I caught on that there were a couple like funny things that dad would say that would really get their attention. For example, they would say, and I don't know where this came from, they just all of a sudden were saying, Chucky cheeseburger. So, you know, instead of say cheese dad and say Chuck E. Cheese Burger. And they just thought that was so funny. And so I'll grab that and start using that. You know that phrase, because I know that it gets them to laugh, so whatever it may be, there's like family phrases or, you know, whatever funny moments. I went I had this this group of boys and mom started talking about a funny video that they were just watching because she knew that it would make them laugh. And so, you know how having that help from mom and dad to sort of make it fun and add in those genuine candid laughs is the best thing that you can do. So listen, for those like hints or things that, you know, mom and dad may be saying that they think is funny now when it comes to like their favorite show or their favorite song, things like that, you can either ask them in the moment or you could send them a questionnaire before the session. I send all of my families a questionnaire, and that just helps me get to know them a little bit beforehand. So that questionnaire is actually available in my shop, if you want to go check it out. Rebeccaricephoto.com/store, but in in your questionnaire, you could have a question. What are your kids names, ages and favorite things right now? So if I know that this kid loves superheroes, then I can talk all about superheroes or whatever, make it customized to that that child in that session. So make it fun whenever you can. Another thing that I like to do, another trick is I like to play games with the kids. And so if a child is not interested in sitting there and smiling, you know, then I'll play a game with them, with younger kids will play peekaboo or I'll jump around. I make lots of crazy, loud, obnoxious noises to get the kids attention. But the older they get, the more creative you have to be. And so there's this one time like we were taking photos, my own family photos and my daughter at the time, I think she was about two. And she was not interested. No, she couldn't have been to Carson wasn't there yet. I was pregnant with Carson, so maybe she's about one and a half, but she didn't want to take pictures. And so the only way we could get her to smile was if we held her and then like fake ran. OK, so we would like take little steps and run, run, run towards the camera. And she thought it was funny and she would laugh. And so we ran a few steps and then pause and, you know, we just snap a few shots and then we'd run some and then we'd snap a few shots. So that's one way that you can, you know, get some some smiles from the younger ones, the older ones. You could, you know, you could play tag or red light, green light or things like that, have them run around and get that energy out and then make deals with them. You can say, OK, we'll run for ten seconds and then you have to smile for, you know, three pictures or whatever. So bargaining usually works pretty well at that age, too, but make it fun, have, you know, play games, whatever you need to do to get those smiles. And then another thing that I do, and this is like my favorite my favorite trick to getting kids to cooperate is I have the parents bring bribe candy or snacks. I literally put it in my final info email, which that's in my email templates in my shop. But my famous final info email basically gets sent to them a week before our session. It goes over, you know, styling tips, reminders. It tells them specific directions where we're meeting all the things. But in there, I have a bullet point that I tell them to bring bribe candy or bribe snacks. And this is the thing that goes the best with the kids, to be honest. It really does. And so, you know, for younger kids, gummies work really well for my own kids. In our recent family photos, we brought marshmallows and not just any marshmallows, but they were special Lucky Charms, marshmallows, not like the kind from the cereal that it was like a lucky charm brand marshmallow. I'm sure we overpaid for it and whatnot, but it worked. And so whatever bribes they need to bring, have them do that. I don't suggest you bringing bribes for them just because you don't want to be held liable or, you know, there could be allergies or whatever. So I have the parents bring them. I've had families do jellybeans. I have I've seen them do Hershey Kisses. It's best to stay away from chocolate because of the mess. But and, you know, mouth get messy, but gummies were great, jelly beans, marshmallows, anything like that. So I encourage them to bring bribe candy. And that way as needed, you know, I tell them, don't pull it out right away. Let's try to get some photos without and if we need, we can start feeding them bribe candy. And, you know, between every shot, give them a piece of candy. And I'm not beneath bribes by any means. And so even families that don't usually give their kids candy, they're the ones bringing, you know, Smarties or whatever, that that's special. And it's something exciting for the kid. And the kids will usually do very, very well with bribes. And I have a funny story about bribe candy. And I don't think I. I shared this story like publicly, I shared it in a in some DM's once, but it is the funniest thing that I have ever seen. And so I wanted to share it here, but just know, like, OK, I love this family so much, they're super sweet. I will leave their names out of it for the sake of, you know, well just let them be. But I will go ahead and share this story with you. So I did a set of Bluebonnet Minis back in the day. OK, so we were sitting there. I had several families that I was working with. And, you know, the way that I always goes with my minis there one after another, back to back. And everybody brought bribe candy like I had instructed. So I had probably been there for three hours. This was one of my longer days of Minis. I like to shoot two hours at a time, but this one, I think was three. So we had 12 families in a row that were coming. So the last family that I had scheduled was a family that I had worked with before. They were super sweet and they had five kids. So we got them together. You know, we set our hellos, whatnot. We got the kids all posed. And as we were there, like literally right, as I had gotten all the kids posed, this was a kid only sessions. All the kids were there. They were ready. And Dad behind me was like, oh, no, I forgot bribe candy. And I was like, well, it's OK. I think we'll be OK because the oldest I think the girls were like seven or eight and then the youngest was like, I don't know, one. So they ranged in age, but the older ones were doing fine. And so I told him I think will be OK without it. We'll just, you know, go and see what happens. So I start shooting and, you know, it's going fine. And then I turn around and one of my family's from earlier in the day. So I think within my first hour. So at least two hours before they had candy not individually wrapped, it was like a box of candy or whatnot. And they had spilled some on the ground. And so we left. It was fine. Well, this dad goes over and he sees this spilled candy on the ground, like literally in the dirt. And I hear him say, oh, nice. I'm like, what? So he goes and picks up this candy from the ground. First of all, he had no idea whose candy it was. He didn't know how long it had been there, and it was literally in the dirt. So he picks up this candy, brushes it off and goes and hands it to his children. You guys, I cannot make this up. The look on my face when I saw him do that, I could not believe it. And like, mom didn't care. They just, like, let it happen. And so I oh, my gosh, I just lost it. I tried to keep my composure, but oh, my. It was the funniest thing I'd ever seen in my life. You know how they say like after your second kid, like you're a lot more lax and whatever, like you can just tell you're not a first time mom. Well, this is like fifth kid dad right there. It was the most hilarious thing I had ever seen. He literally fed his kid strangers candy off the ground. But you know what ? They smiled. So I guess whatever works, I don't know. It was the craziest thing. So hopefully your family is but, you know, bring their own fresh bribe candy and not candy they find on the ground. But whatever works, I guess. So those are my my best tips for getting kids to cooperate. Just to like recap in case you, you know, or a little frazzled and you want to write them down really quick, was to start shooting with the whole family first. Stay flexible. If the kid wants to walk around or whatever, do that, make it fun by playing games, getting to know the kids, you know, whatever you need to do there, and then have the parents bring bribes. Those are for tricks that you can use in your next family session. And I'm pretty sure it'll go better. I so far I haven't had a time. You know, I've had I'll say I've had two sessions where the kid just cried the whole time. But at that point, if none of these things work and they just cry, like, you can't help that. And I could do a whole other podcast. I probably will later of like what to do if a kid just cries the whole time. And I'll tell some of those stories. But just know if the kid cries the whole time, there's nothing you can do about it. And at that point, just snap what you can and move on. But for the most part, that's not going to happen. For the most part, these tricks will be enough to get some great smiles from kids. And I think you'll be really pleasantly surprised with the outcome of those photos, even with children that are a little bit more typical or have a lot of energy. So I hope this was helpful for you if you have any questions about. You know, working with young kids and things like that, I'm always open to DMs you can do me on Instagram at Rebecca Rice Photography and if you want to see this in action, I have my membership, my monthly membership for family photographers that shows behind the scenes of me shooting real family sessions. So that's called Behind The Lens, if you want to check it out. It's Rebeccaricephot.com/behind/the/lens. You can go see it. Watch me shoot real family sessions, see how I interact with toddlers. I've had difficult toddlers. I've had great kids that cooperate very well, everything in between. So if you want to check that out and watch it in real time and I like to talk about why I do certain things, then behind the lens is for you. It is the least expensive product in my whole shop, so it is definitely worth it anyways. Hope you guys have an awesome week. I hope this was helpful and we'll see you around this time next week by.

Episode Transcript

15. Tricks for Getting Kids to Cooperate for Family Photo Sessions