“Do we have to?”

“I don’t wanna!”

“I don’t have anything to wear.”

“Does this mean I have to miss the game?”

Some of this probably sounds pretty familiar, but this time it’s not your five-year-old talking to you.

It’s your husband.

For some people, preparing the husband for the family photo shoot is as exhausting as preparing the kids. If your husband is happy-go-lucky about family photo day, that’s great! But if he’s somewhat reluctant, there are a few things you can do to help him out.

Discuss the Session and Your Expectations

This is probably the most important of all these tips, and it’s essential whether your husband is looking forward to photo day or not. But especially if not.

If you scheduled the photography session, you’ve already done the research and know what to expect from photo day. Your husband might not.

Take the time to explain how the session works: it’s only a couple of hours long, and it’s not all about holding stiff poses until someone passes out from boredom. It’s really more of a casual family gathering, where you all play and interact with each other like you usually do —and I’m there to capture those beautiful moments.

Tell him how you need him to help with the kids that day. That could mean helping them get dressed, not giving them any messy snacks after they’re dressed, or helping with a clothing change during the session. Of course he’s a great dad and a great helper, but a photo session is outside of your normal routine. He might not think of all the details you think of.

Don’t expect him to guess. If you have certain requirements for the day, spell them out. Which outfit does he need to wear? Which does he need to pack? What time do you have to leave? Who’s in charge of grabbing the diaper bag?

Remind Him: The Kids Are Fine

He might be imagining the photo session as a smooth-sailing affair where the children listen and sit still upon request. Remind him that the photo studio is not an enchanted land where children go to behave. (Even though the resulting photos sort of make it look like that.) In fact, it may at times have the opposite effect, because the kids are excited about the project!

Or, sometimes, crazy happens because the kids are not excited about the project.

It’s okay. It’s all okay. The kids can go as crazy as they need to go, and we’re still going to get incredible photos. He doesn’t need to worry or try extra hard to get them back in line.

One more note there: agree on a bribe. I’m not saying you should bribe your kids. Not saying you shouldn’t. But if you do, make sure you both know about and agree to the tactic before the shoot.

Work Together to Decrease the Stress

Photo shoots are fun, but there are a lot of moving parts involved, and I know it can be stressful particularly if one person is left to pack the clothes, get everyone ready, make sure there are snacks, gas the car, and get to the studio on time. Ask for help and trust that he’ll do the work as beautifully as you would do it yourself. Tell him straight up: his help means less stress for everyone, which could help you all avoid an argument or a tense situation.

(Do that for your sake, not mine. I’ve seen it all. I can roll with it. But you’ll be much happier if we’re all having fun.)

Focus on the Outcome

It’s only one or two hours. Really! That’s 4-8 percent of his day. It’ll go quickly, and when it’s over, you’ll all have beautiful photos to treasure together for years.

We’ve all done things we don’t like at one point or another in order to get something we want. Maybe this is just one of those things for him.

Relieve Stress

If he finds the actual picture-taking stressful, suggest some stress-relieving techniques, like those found in this article. They’re good for any time, really, and may be able to help him relax before the photo session so he can feel like himself when the camera is clicking. Exercise, eat a good meal, and do some deep breathing before arriving at the studio.

Add Another Bribe

Hey, kids aren’t the only ones who respond to bribes. They’re pretty effective for people of all ages. Just ask a selection of government officials throughout history.

If it’s good enough for them, it may well work for your husband.

Keep the Love

That’s the whole reason you’re doing this, right? You love him. He loves you. You created a beautiful family together, and you want the photos so you can look back at who and how you were at this point in time. That opportunity doesn’t come around again.

When you do things from a spirit of love, it all becomes easier. Instead of focusing on how much he dislikes being in photographs, remind him to focus on how much he loves you and the kids.

That’s what it’s all about, and we’ll see it shining through in every single photo.

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