When my clients book their studio portrait session, we always have a detailed phone consultation. We discuss what to wear, what to bring and what to expect during the shoot. We also go through some simple rules that will ensure the best results.
One of my recent shoots taught me a good lesson & reminded me that rules need to be there for a reason.
It was a joint portrait for 2 families, with a total of 4 adults and 3 young children (aged between 2-4 years old). It was a very last minute booking, so we did not get a chance to have the usual pre-shoot consultation.
It was rather late in the afternoon, so the kids were a little bit tired but quite excited. All was going reasonably well, exactly as expected for this age group – 2-3 year old children love pushing the boundaries! As expected, they did not always want to do what they were told… All four parents were very keen to be involved & help out – so it got rather noisy! At one point when I was taking a photograph of the 3 children together, there were 4 people behind me screaming cheerfully “say cheese” …. so of course their smiles looked extremely hmm… “cheesy”!
At another point during the session, one little girl was told by 5 different people what to do – everyone screaming all at once! No wonder she got rather confused! and did not want to listen to any of us.
During many of my past sessions, quite a few parents would use threats to discipline their children (you won’t get your chocolate/ we won’t go the McDonalds etc. etc)… and what happens if kids are threatened or screamed at? naturally they get upset and they stop enjoying the photo-session.
So here are some important “studio rules” for parents:
* one voice rule (photographer should be in control of the session)
* never “say cheese” (the aim is to get natural smiles & I have lots of tricks for that)
* only use positive encouragement (bribes are allowed)
* please assist when asked (I often ask parents to help, co-operation is extremely important)