The Session Part 2: Ice Breakers
I love easing my families in to their photoshoots with some fun ice breakers! I do this at the beginning of almost every session, unless they're a relaxed couple without kids who are totally game for photos. These ice breakers don't always make the best photo opportunities, however they help both parents and children realize that this is going to be FUN!
Ring Around The Rosie works well for Children under 5.
Everybody tickle Mommy! (Or Daddy, or kid..)
Don't peek at Mommy and Daddy! I'm going to make them kiss!!
(This often leads to children getting a tad jealous and making a bee-line for mom and dad to break up their smooch fest, which is a cute photo opportunity in itself!)
Sit Mom/Dad down and tell the kid to run to the parent and try to knock them over, while simultaneously telling parents to catch the child in a big bear hug!
Pose the family and then have parents tell their children the story of how they met. This works best for children over 5.
Get Mom and Dad to hold the kids hands and swing them.
(Please be careful and don't pressure parents to do this! Some parents aren't on board with it, and some children don't enjoy it- but if it's something the kids and parents do anyway, then use it!)
Tell young kids you're going on a wild adventure to find a dragon! Look for clues in each location you take them. At the end, act like you just saw the Dragon fly away ;-)
This may require some acting skills, but luckily most children 4 and younger will fall for it! lol
For couples without kids, ask them questions while you have them posed, but ask them NOT to look at the camera- but instead to be having a conversation with their partner. (How did you meet? Who's the better cook? Who is the messiest?) This generally leads to them reminiscing and you get real smiles out of them!
Convincing Mom and Dad to do couples photos
Posing Mom and Dad together WITHOUT their children is also really important. Sometimes parent's aren't interested in doing this, but I ALWAYS remind them what these photos will mean to their children when they're gone. "You know, the way I think of it is this: It's important to document your legacy. A name alone in a genealogical record has no meaning. These photos tell the story of how much you love each other, and it's actually been proven that if your children to see visual representation of your love for each other, either by you being snuggly in front of them, or hanging photos of yourselves clearly in love, it helps them feel more secure. If you really, really don't want to then I won't pressure you- but honestly if you end up hating them, then just don't ever show anyone! There's no harm in trying, right?"
Honestly, after a spiel like that, they never argue! lol
Here are some little one-liners I use to help Mom and Dad feel a little more at-ease and natural while in their poses. Usually I'll get a little chuckle out of them, and it creates a perfect photo opportunity.
Hey Dad, whisper something in Mom's ear that you KNOW will make her laugh! (After Dad complies, throw in a: Keep it clean, Man! There are kids here!)
Ok, I need you to rub noses together.... but don't get carried away, we don't want anyone losing an eye!
Mom, relax your eyes closed and take a deep breath. Let it out through your mouth. Pretend your children aren't driving you insane right now!
Dad, you're mom's BEST accessory! Pull her in by the waist, kiss her on the neck, forehead, or temple and make her look like the luckiest girl in the world!