It’s not bribery it's incentive.
Make plans to do something fun or tasty after your shoot. Go out for ice cream, make a trip to the zoo. As adults we know how to get through a tough day at work. We motivate ourselves with thoughts of the weekend, the cold beer that awaits us at home, or the coffee break we desperately need. Little kids can’t do that. Do it for them by reminding them of what happens AFTER the photoshoot.
Talk about the fun we’ll have. Avoid talking about “big smiles”, or “sitting still”, or being “a good listener”. A photo session is FUN. Your child is invited to come play with my toys, explore a new park and take pictures of all the awesome things they can do!
Get some sleep. Schedule your session with your children’s naps in mind. Right after a nap and snack is ideal.
Bring a snack. I know there are “puffs” in your purse. It’s okay. You can use them. Your child should eat before the shoot but if they need a pick-me-up during the shoot having a snack on hand makes everyone happier.
Keep them comfortable. Whether it is shoes or tutus make sure that your little one can walk comfortably and move freely.
Prepare to get dirty. I know you are good at washing stains, you are a parent, and you are going to use those skills today. We will take the principle pictures before I show your toddler the puddle or the jungle gym but wet shoes or grass stains are almost guaranteed. An extra pair of clothes, and some wipes are both good ideas.
Bring a comfort item, but tell no one. It is a last resort. In case we are teething, or feeling shy and no amount of silly dancing or joke telling will comfort, the favorite toy can be fetched from the car.
No candy please. I don’t care about the sugar but the food colouring stains their tongue and faces.
Overdress your children. There is nothing worse than the pained smile of a cold 2 year old. Layers can always be removed. For winter sessions I recommend children wear tights/leotards or long-johns underneath a thick pair of pants. A onesie or undershirt should be worn below the shirt and a sweater above that. Remember to coordinate hats, mittens, and jackets to the overall colours in your shoot.