Let's dive in to what child-led sessions are and why we like it!
What is child-led sessions? - This is when the children guide the session and we follow the cues they are communicating with us.
It means we follow the children, and we play with them. When was the last time you actually played with your kids? I rarely do... I am always around them, but seldom actively with them. And there is nothing wrong with that, but this is such a great opportunity to connect with your children and get those real smiles and cuddles. I invite you to relax and slow down during our session. It's my job to take great photos, and your job is to have a great time with your family that you all will remember with joy.
When our session start, we spend some time connecting, and feeling where they are. Some kids are ready to start right away, and some needs to warm up to the new situation a bit. If that is the case, it's a great opportunity for some cuddles and snuggles. If we need to take a break, we take one. I will always come with some gentle suggestions on what we can do, and how to get those sweet kiddos to have a great time.
I once read that connection = perfection and I think it's so true for family photography.
The only thing we need to have beautiful images is connection.
- Child-led sessions reduces the chance of big emotions that might hinder the flow of a family session. (And if big emotions come, we will embrace them!)
- Children are fun and are naturals in cultivating genuine moments. We just have to let them.
- It helps children to trust a photographer and might help with their excitement for future sessions.
- Sometimes children don’t want to be hugged or kissed, and if they refuse – we should not force. We can offer hugs and kisses later, but their consent is important.
Obviously, this works most of the time, and there are also times when it does not, which is also okay. Children are allowed to have bad days as well. As a mom myself, I aim to try and redirect big emotions and make this session fun for children. Again, for the times that it doesn’t work; it’s important to remember to be patient and calm. Yelling or scolding doesn't make things better and I try to encourage the parents to refrain from it unless the children or someone else is in harm’s way.
This time is about more than just getting things done. This session is meant to be a memory in itself, to soak in this special moment in time and their age, to appreciate where they are on this journey of life. A timestamp.
Bonus: A guide to slow parenting.