Need holiday photo inspiration, watch my Disney episode, How to Take Holiday Family Photos when Kids Resist (I added those last few words because that’s what made this episode so beautifully authentic!) Read the backstory below on how the kids weren’t feeling this photo shoot as much as mom, and how we fixed that!
What mom doesn’t want a GREAT family photo for their holiday card? It’s a fair desire! That’s why you need to KNOW how to stay one step ahead of the game on how to take holiday family photos when kids resist. In fact, I would expect the kids to resist it. They don’t expect the experience to be fun. Good news, we can only go up from there and blow their expectations away! 🙂
The sheer reality of how bad we want this makes it become so easily stressful. Over the years, I’ve taken endless holiday portraits. I have seen it all, friends: from the crazy, stressed–out moms to whom I suggested taking a walk to ease their jitters to the kids who wouldn’t behave no matter what reward their parents offered, to the resistant dad who wanted to talk shop, hoping to avoid being in the photo.
But picture having a film crew, sound guy, makeup lady, and all the rest of the people that go into producing a show on top of the typical holiday-photo stress. Mix that with a little girl who just finished her first week of full-day school. Guess who is super tired and doesn’t want to have their photo taken? Yep, the little girl you’ll see in the video below. When we all met at a park in Seattle, WA to film the “How to Take Holiday Family Photos” episode for my new show Capture Your Story with Me Ra Koh, she took one look at the crew and started crying. In not so many words, she said “no thanks!” and wouldn’t get out of the car…
I knew we needed to a strategy. As a photographer, it’s important that you don’t try to comfort or reassure the little one. Let mom and dad try first. This may sound obvious, but I’ve seen a number of photographers scare the kids even more. For now, you’re still a stranger to them.
To help safe proof my family photo shoots, I always have mom bring the kids’ favorite things. The kids don’t necessarily know this, but if we need something to help make the little one feel more calm, safe and secure–these favorite things are perfect. They’re great bridge builders. This little guy has his favorite cars next to him.
I also like to bring a surprise for the kids whether it’s a little toy car I pick up at the drugstore for 99cents or Mickey the Mouse stuffed animals (because, after all, this was for Disney :). The little surprises I bring usually cost me less a dollar or two. It’s just a fun way to let the kids know you were thinking of them and build a bridge. It isn’t always necessary, but I like to have them on hand in case it is. These two got the biggest surprise ever! But they earned it with all the filming we did! They were AWE-some!
And then we time the photo shoot to happen during golden hour. The beautiful golden light will help add an emotion of joy, warmth, and love, even when kids are taking time to warm up to the camera.
When your photo shoot is a wrap, cut the kids loose! But be sure to have your camera ready for those spontaneous, genuine moments!
p.s. A HUGE thank you to the Dugaw Family who helped make this episode possible! You guys are awesome, and your kids overcame every obstacle! So proud of those two! So thankful for you four!
*Give the Gift of Empowerment with one of our CONFIDENCE Photography Workshops for Women! We’re celebrating 10 years of teaching this confidence to countless women!