Smart Phones are truly amazing. At the tips of our fingertips we have high definition cameras and big chunks of our time are spent clicking away at our little lovies in pursuit of a beautiful shot. In most cases it WILL be beautiful but it will remain on our phone, computer, tablet, whatever, because we don’t have time to actually develop 1,000,000 photos. Also, we’re never really included in those pictures anyway because someone has to take the picture. (And no, selfies aren’t counted). So sometimes the need arises to take a professional family photo-shoot and let a photographer do all the work while we benefit from these special moments.
In theory it sounds simple: Buy cute outfit, place kid under flattering light, say cheese! And go home with a magazine-worthy spread of pictures. In reality most kids will have difficulty cooperating, while kids with sensory issues might turn what is supposed to be a fun event into a frustrating one. Soooooo the best option is to plan a little ahead and to use the following tips, including sensory ones, to maximize the smiles and minimize the fuss.
First off, it’s important to talk to the photographer before to find out how much experience she has with children with sensory issues. Discuss the optimal time to take the pictures. Is she flexible? Some kids are just not morning people, and although it might be the best time slot for him at 9:00 you have to know when your kids are at their best and start from there.
For sensory seeking kids it might be a good idea to bring along fidget toys to help them keep still. But on the other hand taking pictures of them while on the go, or hugging you can also create nice and natural shots. It’s impractical to demand from them to sit still for so long. So take breaks and bring along snacks, drinks and chewing gum to promote focus.
For sensory sensitive kids make sure to wash and try on the clothing they’ll be wearing so that they feel comfortable. If there is a lot of distracting stimuli in the studio, such as tons of toys, it might be a good idea to place them behind a curtain during the photo-shoot. Make sure the lighting isn’t too harsh. Play relaxing music in the background. Sometimes, the studio just isn’t the place for sensory kids. In this case, an outdoors shot or even taking pictures in the comfort of your own home can be an option.
The most important tip is to have fun and flow and be natural 🙂