Advice from an Ottawa Photographer: Avoiding meltdowns | Family photography sessions can be an exciting and memorable experience, but they can also pose challenges, especially when it comes to managing meltdowns. As parents, we know that meltdowns and bad moods can happen at any time, but with some careful planning and proactive strategies, we can help ensure a smoother and more enjoyable photo day for everyone involved. 

Prepare them for the experience

Kids of all ages thrive on routine and predictability, so it’s crucial to prepare them for the upcoming photo session. Talk to your kids in advance about the session, explaining what will happen and how long it may take. Using “First, then” statements can help set expectations. For example, say, “First, we’ll get dressed in our special outfits, then we’ll go to the park for the photo session.” Providing a clear sequence of events will give them a sense of control and reduce anxiety.  Even if your children have participated in photo sessions before, it’s important not to skip this step!

Comfortable clothing choices

Uncomfortable clothing can quickly escalate a meltdown. Ensure that your children’s outfits are comfortable and well-fitting. Scratchy fabrics or tight shoes can easily irritate them and make them restless. Involve your kids in the clothing selection process to increase their engagement and make them feel included. Choose outfits for your family photography session that reflects their personalities while considering the location and theme of the shoot.

Communication is key

Instead of resorting to bribery, remember that no child listens to every instruction or request 100% of the time. Professional photographers are used to working quickly with children of all ages, which means your child doesn’t need to smile or stay still for the entire session. During the shoot, ignoring silly behaviour, shyness, or other “misbehaviour” and instead staying connected with your kids, playing with them, and speaking calmly, will help ground them a lot faster than bribes or punishments.

Don’t forget history

Reflect on previous experiences your children have had, like special outings, concerts, and family events, and what triggered meltdowns or overwhelm during those situations.  If you can identify situations that your child finds stressful, you can help prevent issues from arising during your photography sessions.  Things like insects, feeling hungry, being somewhere with a lot of noise and distractions: these are all things to keep in mind before you book your session to make sure you choose the best location and time of day for your family!

Advice from an Ottawa Photographer: Avoiding meltdowns
Advice from an Ottawa Photographer: Avoiding meltdowns

Candid Family Photographer Ottawa