Last year I had a few tips for prepping husbands…here are seven tips for prepping your kids for a film session!
They’re gonna be a movie star!
Never lead off with “This is important to mommy.” That guilt trip works on a fraction of kids. Lead off instead with why the session is important for THEM! Tell them that one day when they’re your age, they’ll get to watch their video and see themselves talking, laughing, running, and jumping as kids. Tell them how much you love them and how you want them to always remember that when they watch their film or see their photos.
Don’t battle it out on the wardrobe.
If your child desperately wants to wear that “other” outfit…for the love of your session, put it on the cutie. So long as it isn’t a loud color or character t-shirt, who will ever care or notice? If I do my job well, your clothes will be the LAST thing people notice. I’d rather have you show up to a session with happy kids (ready to love on you) than angry ones, bitter at the session before it’s even begun.
Early bedtime the night before.
Don’t underestimate how active a video session will feel. We’re moving/playing a lot, and—because we both prefer golden hour—depending on the time of year, it could also mean a later night. Make sure your littles get the sleep they need to enjoy the fun in store.
Feed the talent.
Please, please feed your kids well before our session. Even if it’s late fall and we’re meeting up early, feed them a first dinner. Small, quick-to-eat snacks are welcome during your session, but please don’t offer them unless they’re really needed. I’ve seen a turning point in many, many sessions over the years when toddlers become fixated on the snacks instead of you. Do bring water for warm-weather sessions!
Bribes are for after the session.
I’ve never bribed kids during my session. I don’t ply them with treats because I don’t want forced participation; I want genuine participation, and so should you. Bribes might make them happy for a minute, but now they know how to manipulate the session. If your kids aren’t cooperating, leave it to me. Sometimes they just need a change of activity and to get out the wiggles. I promise that you’ll never miss the photos/footage we didn’t get.
Don’t break the fourth wall…
…but if they do, it’s ok. I’ll often incorporate footage of your kids looking directly in my camera. When it feels intentional, it gives me happy chills (and I hope it does you too). When a sibling is slyly looking over at me while the rest of the family interacts?…probably not a clip I’ll use. Tell your kids to ignore me and enjoy YOU. I’ll ask for their attention if I want it! If they forget, no worries…they’ll forget I’m there eventually. Please don’t stress this.
Above all, stay chill.
Mamas, you will set the tone for our session. That’s right! Everyone there (including me) knows who the session is mostly for. The secret to getting your family’s cooperation is expressing how much THEY mean to you…not the session. When you quibble over what they’re wearing, how they should style their hair, and how they should smile…you’re sending the wrong message and your session will reflect it.
Lead with your heart and your session will be magical, I promise. I’m excited to collaborate with you.