I asked my IG community where they most needed help during family sessions and one thing I heard over and over again is "how do you work with cranky dad's?" Or "How do you get the dad's to relax during the session?"
Well my friends, I got you covered. I can honestly say that I rarely ever have a dad who is hard to work with and the main reason is I know exactly who my people are and generally only attract those people, but the other reason is that I know how to set them at east and help them to relax into the session.
Here are three easy tips for helping your dad's to relax during your family sessions.
1. Talk to him. Okay, this sounds easy right? But it's important. I immediatly start talking to Dad during my sessions.
I ask him where he works. "Oh you work at Amazon, I have a friend who works for kindle and he says it's super cut throat."
I let him know I understand that this may not be his idea of a fun Saturday night but assure him it will be easy. "Hey I know photo sessions can seem like torture, but I promise, mine are quick, fun and painless."
Simply talking directly to Dad will allow him to realize that you are on his side and not just there for mom.(when really you probably are ;) )
2. Let him know that your only expectation is for him to love on his family. Sometimes dad's look stiff and uncomfortable because they are trying to look you straight in the camera with their best smile. I say over and over AND OVER again, "don't look at me, look at your gorgeous wife and children. That's all you have to do." Once they realize you don't want them to look at you and that you only want them to be with their family, they chill out.
3. Encourage him to play with his kids and love on his wife. Usually dad's feel most comfortable when they are doing something. I ask them to throw their kiddos in the air, spin them around, tickle them, chase them, anything playful. Then I tell them to kiss their wife, grab her butt (yup, I do that), or nuzzle their neck. This usually relaxes them and lets them know I am laid back and okay with some fun.
Dad's really just need to be reassured that this isn't a typical photo shoot. That I am not requiring them to wear a stiff outfit and a stiff grin. That they can play with their family and love on their wife.
Luckily, I educate my families pretty well before shoots so they usually know this, but some Dad's need more encouraging.
Hope that helps. :)