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Raw & Real | What Shooting My Own Kid Taught Me & How To Help You Mitigate Mommy "Photo" Stress

Updated: Jun 20, 2019

So let’s get SUPER real for a moment… can I share something with you? A TRUE Struggle for me..

Every mom wants beautiful images of her kiddos, so that we can save those sweet moments, personalities and details for a day when the kids are grown and we’re feel like reminiscing over old photos and hand made macaroni art.

But just like you, I sometimes find prepping for a family session to be STRESSFUL!

Especially in the two hours leading up to the shoot! To get everyone dressed, in a good mood and ready can feel IMPOSSIBLE.

But you’re not alone Momma! I know we all hold our breath to make sure the kids behave and we get some actual useable shots. But please know you are NOT ALONE. This is a stress for ALL MOMS, EVEN PHOTOGRAPHER Moms! Let me tell you why and what you can do to ease the stress…

This past Friday the leaves were in full color, the sun was casting the most beautiful fall golds and my kiddo had a brand new outfit from her grandparents that would be super cute for some fall photos. So being a mom, I grabbed the hubs, my kid and my camera to go by our neighborhood pond to shoot a few quick frames and then off to dinner we’d go.

Well friends. IT. DID. NOT. GO. AS. PLANNED.

Let me let you in on a little secrete, DIY photos by mom are GREAT! BUT kids listen to strangers WAY BETTER in these settings then to Mom & Dad b/c they don’t know how the stranger (or photographer) will act – where they can predict mom and dad.

This is why even photographers have OTHER PEOPLE shoot their kiddos. This short 10 minute session with my 2 year old had me on edge. I was SO MAD when we were done (which is rare). I was ready to cancel Christmas and snatch away all her fruit snacks for LIFE!

I swear the child did everything BUT sit still, play my games or listen to me. The kid had her back to me 90% of the time b/c at the end of the day, photographer or not, I’m still that kiddo’s mom. So when it comes to photos she’s simply not going to follow my instruction or play my games like YOUR kiddos will.

So what’s the moral of the story Momma? What’s the take away…

  • Your kid is going to photograph BETTER for a stranger then for you. It’s just the way it goes… that’s why it’s so important to set up a session once a year so that you get those beautiful shots and you get in front of the camera.

  • Every session looks calm in the shot but you should see what goes on behind the scenes! Every family has a “busy” toddler, a grumpy kid or a bribe hidden away in their pocket. Every family has the “come sit down” – “what are you doing”- “no a NICE smile!” convos between kids and parents during our shoot… but you’d never know if from the gallery. So PLEASE don’t let “my family could never”, “will never” keep you from capturing the memories of today. Because I promise you, they can and they will look just as amazing and peaceful for you as they look for the other mommas. That’s my job.

  • Every mom handles stress differently, but PLEASE KNOW when it comes to your family photos and shooting with me PLEASE DON’T STRESS over anything other than outfits. Believe it or not, we ALWAYS get the shot! We ALWAYS find a way for shy kids, crying kids or “busy” kids to play with us. We ALWAYS understand that it’s hard being a mom and you want things to go right, since this splurge doesn’t happen often but small kids are programmed NOT to sit still, but to explore and constantly be on the look for an adventure. Being the mom…you want to strangle them for it (trust me, I was in your shoes Friday) but that’s why we play games and structure our session around your kiddo(s) and their personality. You focus on the snuggles and loving on your family… I’ll heard the cats, get the smile and land the shot. Let me make sure we get it all in...relax. enjoy. play.

On a side note, yes…my kid survived this quick little mini (somehow). And guess what…even for her mom shooting her and her being a photographer’s kid (like Defcon 1: worst case scenario possible for toddler photography) we still got some amazing shots of her doing her thing and being 2 ½ , for us to reminisce over when she’s 16 and driving us crazy or 32 and having her own toddler meltdowns (hahaha - payback is a...nevermind.).

p.s. Thanks to @ princessandthepenny for all the killer #schoolgirl bows that my tot struts with some serious sass!

Hey You... Let's Be Friends, K?!

Hey there - I'm Chelsea! A coffee worshiping Hoosier native, just trying to raise a kiddo and capture vivid memories in central IN for my families & brides. To see more of our work, make sure to FOLLOW us on Facebook and Instagram & sign up for our VIP club to get first dibs on open session date!

Family photos stress you out? We share some basic planning tips & FAQs for your session.



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