Let’s talk about those older kids. You know the ones I’m talking about. The tweens, the teens, and maybe even the the adult children who haven’t quite fled the nest. And maybe those who have. Yes, the ones who when you say “game night!” or “family meeting!” or even worse…”family photos!!” they begin to cringe on the inside. Slowly that cringiness manifests itself outwardly. You may notice they put their phone down and immediately slouch, the eyes may roll, the mouth may open, and a whining sound may come out. “BUT WHY?” they demand to know. While you might want to say “because I said so”, maybe you can reason with them. Appeal to the sensitive soul and sweet disposition deep inside where it might be hiding as they are trying to come into their own. Because guess what? They are changing everyday, just like those littles we clung to for so long.
They’re changing too
The best part about sessions with older kids is this: It’s not really about the way the little kids look up to their parents. It’s all about how the parent’s look at their kids. Grown up. Into beautiful individuals, each unique. They are funny. They have distinct personality traits. They don’t need you to tie their shoes or make sure they got the soap rinsed from hair anymore. Where they have spent their childhood marveling at all the things you can do and be, now you marvel at their independence. The ultimate test comes soon: setting them free into this big, big world and watching the soar. And fail. And get back up and soar again.
Just do it
Older kid sessions are some of my absolute favorites. Once they warm up and relax, they are seriously the funniest humans. I love how they tease their parents and make them laugh so genuinely. I love the sibling camaraderie and jabbing. I love most though, that deep inside their growing hearts, they are still kids. They aren’t afraid to, once they’ve let their guard down with me, snuggle into their parents arms or lay their heads on their shoulders. It’s so important, that I, as the photography set the tone for the entire session. Which needs to happen first thing! Asking for a fist bump will immediately make them roll their eyes at you. In a good way. The kind that comes with a grin. I use a lot of “act like you love your parents” and “pretend your sister is super cool” which also makes them smile. I can relate this because I myself, often pretend my sister is also cool.
I get a surprising amount of families with kids home from college who ask me for family sessions, like these guys…and I LOVE to take on the challenge of documenting older kids. And it’s important to do it…someday they’ll look back at these, laughing and smiling and remembering just how amazing their parents were.