Easter minis are right around the corner. Don't stress! I'm here to help. Lets plan together so we can create a successful shoot and make some awesome holiday memories for you. Here are my top tips!
The hardest part is planning outfits! The amount of messages I get with parents overwhelmed with picking outfits for sessions. I always post the backdrop to help moms get an idea of what colours. As always I suggest staying away from too many patterns. Lots of patterns can make a photo look busy and distracts from the subjects... your littles! Think of the time of year. Spring doesn't invoke images with dark colours or bright like navy's and marrons; those colours are winter themed. Bright pops of colours like bold pinks and oranges speak more to summer. Go for lighter colours. Soft pinks and blues, pastel purples and greens. Dashes of white and cream. Black is okay but greys look better.
To take it a step further... here is a Pinterest board I've made some with Easter session outfit ideas for the kiddos.
Dealing with Animals
As a professional photographer, I care about the well-being of both my human and animal subjects. That's why during Easter sessions, I only use one bunny at a time. Animals can get stressed easily when they are in unfamiliar environments or surrounded by too many people. Stress can affect their health and behavior, and make them unhappy or aggressive. I don't want to put any bunny or child at risk of harm or discomfort.
To minimize the stress, I use animals from a petting zoo that are used to being handled by humans. They are also vaccinated and groomed regularly, so they are safe and clean. I also provide them with enough food, water, and rest between sessions. I treat them with respect and kindness, and I expect the same from my clients.
In Canada, it is legal and acceptable to use live animals for photography, as long as they are not abused or exploited. However, in some states in the US, it is considered animal abuse and punishable by law. I understand that different cultures have different views on animal rights, but I believe that keeping the animals stress-free is as important as keeping the children I'm photographing safe and happy. That's why I only use one bunny at a time. I typically will have a few bunnies in the studio for Easter sessions but swap them out for each session and depending on behavior in order to reduce stress on animals.
During sessions such as Easter petites, or sessions on rent properties like farms, please do not bring your pets for sessions. While I allow this for other sessions, I am responsible for these animals in the studio and their safety. Vise versa goes for your animals. While the animals I use do come from farms used to interactions and people, at the end of the day, they are animals with unpredictable behaviors. I do my best to ensure the reduction of stress of these animals and keep the mutual respect between myself, my clients and vendors I work with.
Working with Kids and Animals together
I have worked with live animals for Easter sessions for the past 14 years. If you want to have photos with small animals, here are some tips to prepare your kids for the session that I have found works best.
First, talk to them about the animals they will meet and show them some pictures or videos of them. This will help them get familiar with the animals and their appearance, behavior and sounds.
Second, let them know that the animals may be shy or scared of new people, so they should be gentle and calm around them. They should not try to grab, chase or hug the animals, but rather let them come closer on their own. Of course, I will be there to help place the animals in the set.
Third, remind them that the animals are not toys, but living beings that have feelings and needs. They should respect the animals' space and comfort, and follow the instructions of the photographer and the animal handler.
Finally, keep your expectations realistic. Your kids may be excited about the animals at home, but they may react differently when they see them in person. They may be afraid, curious, bored or distracted by the animals. The photos may not turn out as you imagined, but they will still capture a unique and memorable moment with your kids and the animals.
And as always, if you have any questions about these sessions, please feel free to ask!