(what a photo shoot with kids really looks like)
What’s not to love about setting up your very own photo shoot with your children? Numero uno: it’s FREE. Let me repeat that, because it’s the reason we all keeping trying to nail this DIY project. FREE. Your mere decision to attempt capturing your babes on film has already saved you hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars.
You’ve got all the flower crowns, wicker baskets and would-be photo props you could possibly need lying across your house. You trip over them daily trying to get to the front door.
You’ve got a smartphone with an umpteen megapixel camera and it glides in and out of the back pocket of your mum-shorts like quicksilver.
But don’t be deceived: it’s not as smooth as your hopes would have it.
The true price of a DIY photo shoot?
Half an hour after you plan to arrive on location, you reach your car.
After wrestling two tiny humans into their approved restraints, you finally get in yourself.
Dispense mess-free bribe-snacks and hit the road.
Arrive at pre-selected destination.
(Key factor in preselection being the amount of driving minutes you have to listen to Flashdance aka “What a Feeling” on repeat.)
Remove kids from tethers to discover perfectly clean, perfectly crushed outfits.
Heck, you might as well have given them chocolate and oranges and changed on site.
Now, having driven, you don’t strictly need a pram.
But here’s the secret.
You need the pram.
If not to bear your progeny the few metres they will claim their feet cannot walk, you can cling aggressively to the handle when you just want to wilt to the pavement, give up and go home.
If you have one of those ergo-squishy handles, great. Inflict your tension upon it. Trust me, it will be the cheapest, most useful pram accessory you never bought.
You can also pile all those flower crowns and photogenic junk into it.
Hopefully you’re at the picturesque spot by now.
And hopefully some other annoying hopeful woman isn’t there already.
(One weekend I got this far only to be greeted by two BRIDES vying for wedding photos. I gave up on arrival and left them to battle it out a la Bold and the Beautiful.)
Now that the scene is set, your phone switched to camera mode and your fingers poised, your children may choose to play this a couple of popular ways:
The first: “The Cooperative Kids”
They, laugh, they twirl, they have the time of their lives. Inexplicably, there are more (unusable) “funny faces” than you knew they were capable of. But there’ll definitely be some great pics in there, and everyone had fun.
The second: “The Uncooperative Collective”
Ah, my favourite. One of the kids isn’t in the mood.
“That’s fine”, you think. “I’ll do the other”. Ha ha.
The second child decides that this “not in the mood” thing looks pretty fun. They join in. Sometimes the first child gets jealous, as if their now collective mood were a toy that they just can’t share.
I find the best way to shake them out of this is to join in too. I do grumpy with far more panache and righteous passion than both of them put together.
Amazingly, these crazier photo shoots often yield a good number of amazing shots.
It’s a wrap.
I’m not even kidding. Your gorgeous kids gave you six minutes of pure photographic GOLD. Well, they gave you six minutes.
You’ve got to be grateful, right?
It’s up to you to make these minutes count.
Make sure your phone has enough memory. A couple of times I’ve gone to what felt like huge effort, only to have my phone flash “cannot take photo” at my disorganised ass two minutes in.
And click like your thumb is running its own little olympic tapping race. Better chance you’ll take at least some photos without the kids displaying their uncanny flair for blinking or pulling a face that doesn’t look like one they even own.
Either way, adventures are had and photos are taken.
You will learn a lot about about human nature when you try to pull off the picture perfect photo shoot.
Kids are committed to having fun. They will throw a tantrum if they think that in some roundabout way it might bring them something that will help them have more fun.
This will not help you keep calm.
The presence of judgmental strangers will elicit “Oh my darling, please be safe and don’t leap off the ledge” while inside you’re silently screaming “WTF are you doing you crazy little beast????”.
Little things like that.
Throw everything in the car. Vow to deal with it later. Drive home.
Courtesy of early peak hour traffic, arrive home in time for dinner – theirs. In between cleaning chicken out of the carpet, download your photos.
Have a peek at what you caught.
If they’ve got both eyes open, the photo’s officially “a keeper”.
When you find one where they BOTH have both their eyes open… BINGO, my friend – you have photographic GOLD.
Back this photo up on every storage device you possess.
Promise yourself to clear enough photos from your phone to do this again soon.
(You will forget to do this, but I’ve found I get minutely better at this over the years…).
Tomorrow afternoon, when you’re over it all, you’ll remember you haven’t emptied anything you threw in the car. This is never uplifting.
I wish you luck!
p.s. The photos here are of my daughters Livie and Goldie and my dear friend’s daughter Charlotte. I speak here only of my two crazy babes! Charlotte is a dream… I love the bemused look on her face when my girls lost it. They have so much to learn…haha x