It is that magical time of year; when you gather your family and trot them off to the mall, or if you can swing it, a boutique photographer.  It’s time for your once-a-year-holiday-portraits.  You’ve got the kids dressed in their holiday best, their hair is perfection.  You aren’t looking so bad yourself.  You have planned everything perfectly, which makes you wonder why these photos didn’t turn out the way you hoped.  So what happens between your planning and the actual results? 

The number one picture destroyer is the parents stress level.  Kids pick up on this, and they react to it, sometimes in very odd ways.  I’ve been a children’s photographer for years, I’ve worked in both my own studio and the mall variety.  After the stress of the parents to get everything “perfect” the next big picture destroyer is unrealistic expectations.  Let’s be honest, I can’t get my 16 month old Monkey to sit still long enough to pose him, how can I possibly expect a stranger who doesn’t know my child to do so?  Speaking of small kids, if you have more than one of them it might be unrealistic to get them all to look at the camera and smile at the same time.  Not impossible, but very hard.  And the biggest picture destroyer, telling your kids to say cheese.  That is never, ever, ever flattering, and you will be disappointed with it. 

All this being said, when you go to have your pictures taken.  Relax, have fun.  Let the kids be kids.  Don’t stress if they won’t smile or sit just so.  Work with them, not against them!  And if you have a good photographer, let them do their job.  You might be surprised with the photo you get that wasn’t planned. 

-Stephanie Wright

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