Young children can be especially challenging when taking the family portrait. Snapping that perfect photo is not the easiest thing in the world to accomplish. Believe me, I can truly relate, because my kid was that one kid who absolutely refused to have his picture taken. There were times we almost came to blows. Learn from my mistakes. Here are a few tips to help you get your kids to take that picture perfect family portrait without all the fuss.
Prepare your child
Let your kid know exactly what’s going to happen well in advance of your family photo shoot. Give them a pretend camera to play with or let them use your cell phone to practice taking pictures around the house. If you give them a little power with the object, they will warm up to it on their own.
Pick your battles
If your child refuses to sit in the photo and wants to stand just go with it. This is not the time for a power struggle that only frustrates you both. Angry pictures are not the goal. Embrace the chaos of real life a little. Setting realistic expectations for yourself will help facilitate that perfect family portrait. The less fuss from everyone the better.
Talk to the photographer in advance
Whether your photographer is a family member or a professional, let them know your child might not cooperate. Let them guide your child to sit and smile. Sometimes a child takes directions better from someone other than Mom and Dad. Sad, but true.
Do something silly for a smile
The old rule of thumb to get that perfect smile, saying “Cheese!” can often result in young children giving an unpleasant fake smile. The photographer should say or do something silly for a more natural reaction. Or have him dare a sullen kid not to smile. Reverse psychology might do the trick.
Generally I’m not a fan of this method, but sometimes you have to bring in the big guns if you sense cooperation isn’t in the books for your child that day. If you do be sure the bribe happens before everyone is staged for the picture and standing around waiting on you and your offspring to join in. There’s no need for that added pressure for either one of you.
Do you have any horror stories when you went to get your family portrait? How did you dial down the fuss?