It’s not all the time that I show the back of my camera to the client BUT…sometimes with the loud, boisterous, child scolders, you have to let the image do the talking! The backseat photographer-mom enters the scene.

Keeping control on a photo session is tough, y’all!

When Mom Takes Control…and Won’t Relax!

You’ve probably met that client. The one who can’t relinquish control of the session. The one who brings 5,472 Pinterest inspiration photos for you to recreate. Who hairsprays every fly away that pops up on her toddlers head throughout the session. Who nitpicks the kids about their smile, their squintiness or their untucked shirt until they don’t want anything to do with you or your camera. She doesn’t want them to frolic through the grass for fear of grass stains and they must be making eye contact with the camera and holding perfectly still at all times. The thing is, I’ve worked with that client as a photographer and I’ve also been that client as a mom. And she means well guys, I swear it she does.

Cole's Classroom keeping control of photo session

She doesn’t want her three year old’s cowlick to appear in every photo.

She doesn’t want her five-year old’s grass stains to make more work for you. She’s worried about the Christmas card this year. She’s preoccupied with getting the perfect Instagram photos to post for her social group.

There’s a heck of a lot of pressure on us moms, y’all! So take a deep breath, pardon her overbearing appearance. She’s trying you guys, and she’s been stressing about this 60 minutes of her life since 6:24AM. So I’m going to share my best little trick for calming the nerves of a stressed out mama at your sessions through a nifty little anecdote I have about dealing with my favorite pain in the butt client to work with, my best friend.

keeping control of a photo session

Just like showing a quick preview of the back of the camera to a 5-year-old and telling them they’re doing a great job and look “soooooooo cool” can really help to engage them…

Seriously, show them the back of the camera!

Sometimes showing the back of the camera to a nervous, controlling, reprimanding, “hold still and smile…NOW” back-seat-photographer-mother can really do the trick to get them to lay back and trust your “capturing their real spirit” ways!

back seat moms

Enter the mom who thinks yelling may do the trick…

In this case, the client is my best friend (who pays me) who is super duper well-meaning but definitely a believer in “hold still and smile” for every photo. I have talked “play over posing” with her till I’m blue in the face, but what did I get at 5 PM, after shooting my toddler and her toddler’s worth of Back to School photos and attempting to get a few of two tired, ready to be done toddlers together?


Woah, woah, woah, stop. I love this lady for real guys. And I appreciate the effort to make my life easy, but no threats will be made in association with my photography–that’s just bound to leave a bad taste in this tired toddler’s mouth.

Tell mom to chill.

keeping control of a photo session

So what did I do? I said, “I want you to turn around for 2 minutes, play on your phone and just zone out. Take a Mommy moment and enjoy the built-in babysitting. And then I want to show you something.”

So she did.

And this is what I did with the kids…

And I had my toddler and her toddler hold hands, and wiggle and say “POOP, FART, BANANA LIZARD!” and hold their breath with big puffy cheeks and blow it out like the big bad wolf! And make ugly faces and then pretty smiles! And they had FUN! Her son pulled out this winner of a face and my daughter was in aww of her oldest, dearest, “we’ve been playing since we were in diapers” pal.

keeping control on a photo session

And then I said, “Okay…turn around and look!” And this is what I gave her (well not edited but that just goes to my point that clients are not as picky as we are!

And she cried, and laughed and said we’d show it at their wedding someday. And hugged me. And swore she’d never scream at her toddler at a photo session again. And it may still happen again BUT…I think I’ve put some belief in her heart that this CAN be fun.

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