The Christmas holidays are just around the corner. Christmas usually brings the annual family picture. This event can be very stressful. Disagreements over clothes and hair are common. As is the reluctant members of your family who hate having their picture taken . There are a few things you can do to help the day go by without any major meltdowns.
Photo shoots at a photographers studio are time consuming and expensive. If this is your main concern, consider taking pictures at your house using a tripod or the help of a neighbor. The more people involved in the photo the longer it takes. Some participants will behave better and be more cooperative if the photos are taken at home. Personal photos are also very good. Digital cameras quality has greatly increased. Some home photos are professional quality.
If you must use a studio, plan ahead. Call ahead and make an appointment for as early in the day as possible. First appointments usually have less wait time. Kids are usually happier in the morning as well. Don’t surprise your family the day before. Give them time to get used to the idea. Sit down with them and explain why you are having pictures taken. Is it for Christmas cards? Is it because a long lost relative will be in town and you want them all together in a photo? Consider the reasons why the photo is being taken. Listen to the complaints of those that don’t want their picture taken. Explain that you understand, but the decision has already been made. And their cooperation is appreciated. If you are picking the wardrobe out, warn them ahead of time. If you only want colors and styles to match explain that as well. When people are aware of what is expected they are better able to prepare and cooperate.
Decide on the wardrobe in advance. Have clothes cleaned, pressed, and ready to go on picture day. You don’t want to be running around trying to find something to wear. Hang the clothes up, out of the way, to keep them neat and clean. The morning of picture day decide on any accessories. Lay all of the clothes out, including accessories, to get a visual of the outfit.
Eat a good breakfast. It’s always easier to get cooperation from people when they have a full stomach. You might want to take a few snacks as well. Small children will get hungry. Then they get unhappy. Pack an easy to eat snack and juice. They can also be used as a reward for good behavior.
Get ready. If you are taking a wardrobe change, that increases the length of time at the studio. I don’t recommend this for groups with small children. A little photography goes a long way! Older kids will probably welcome this. Girls especially will get a kick out of changing clothes and different backgrounds.
Bring distractions. This is the perfect time for the kids to play hand held electronic games and listen to music devices. If you have smaller kids bring books, crayons, and paper. Just make sure it is something they will actually play with. These distractions will make the wait time easier.
During the photo session, use humor. Keep the mood light. Every photo shoot has at least one uncooperative person. Don’t get mad. If they refuse to cooperate, work around them. A good photographer can usually get their cooperation long enough to get a good shot.
After the photo shoot, praise all participate for their cooperation. If you have to pick pictures before you leave, have another adult, in your group, to take the kids for a walk or a snack. This will allow you to pick out pictures in peace and quiet.
Taking the holiday family photo is a requirement for most families. They can be filled with frustration and stress. If you plan ahead, bring distractions, and keep the mood light, the time in the studio will make the trip easier. Most importantly, smile.