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Tots to Teens

Lesson 14 of 35

Common Challenges

Sandy Puc

Tots to Teens

Sandy Puc

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Lesson Info

14. Common Challenges

Lesson Info

Common Challenges

so let's talk about changing techniques because you saw that really within the previous video um and you saw like the more I move the faster I go honestly the longer I'm gonna win and it's all about that speed and changing dynamics and honestly confusion is your best weapon you could see with that little boy john when I was playing with the flowers and moving the car you know moving the car and putting candies and I was throwing things up in the air in that segment that's a four minute segment within that time frame I have actually done you know eight techniques but I've only taken if you were paying attention it's kind of hard to hear the clicks we're only clicking one shot at a time I am not a rapid fire shooter I mean I was trained on film so for me everything is very calculated and it would be a matter of you know I got the shot wait wait wait wait wait got the shot wait wait wait wait wait we look for those expressions and I think that you know shooting film for thirteen years rea...

lly taught me how to do that that's the one I regret I have over the transition between film and digital is film trained photographers to be artist I believe they trained you two have a critical eye when film cost you money and you had to pay for the film and the developing you calculated every shot you waited for it and your brain became so in tune with expressions movement poses that you were just very calculated when I shot film I took thirty images because two rolls of film fifteen exposures each anything more than that you know it was coming out of my pocket and coming out of my profit line and so I got to the point where after twenty images you know I was pretty much done and trying to figure out how to take thirty was kind of an effort when I went digital of course just like everybody else I kind of got into the holy cow you could do everything but over time I've really pulled back and I have gotten it to the point where I'm very calculated again helen is a little different helen shoots a little bit more than I do she was looking for a little more variety helen sells a lot of art products we both have excellent cells but she's really she she shoots before our products with multiple images collages collections wall siri's albums things like that and so her style is a little bit different there is no right or wrong the one thing that is wrong to me is just the overshooting if you're not doing it on purpose if you're just pushing and praying that's just not I mean that's just not fair it's not fair to you it's taking time away from people you love that editing time every single time you push that shutter you have taken a second away from your family you push that shutter hundreds and thousands of times it adds up to hours and days and months that you could be doing something better so so definitely calculate that if you can so imagination games this is the other one engaging children in that four to five range in imaginations you saw that little video you guys couldn't hear it as well but the little girl who I said okay now look there's a ladybug up here and she's like do you swear to god you know that was kind of hard I've never had that one before but other than that normally if I say look you know what there's a ladybug right here all of a sudden they can and I'll say do you see it and every child will say yeah you know and I have the ladybug technique I also have a spider technique I'll say is that a spider and I can shut any child down from moving at that point you'd have to be careful there's that fine line and you could scare them right out of the shot most of the times I say oh is that a spider and that'll stop their feet and I know it's a ladybug so I did a startle technique and then I did an engaging technique so I stopped there move movement and then I got I switched car directions real quickly because otherwise you say spider they're going to be out the door up a tree and you know looking for their mom so those are the kind of things counting games those air games like um all right we're gonna play a game everybody looked right here and tell me how many is this okay tell me how many is this you know when I the counting game you'll be surprised how well that works just engaging them in a game and I'll say oh here's really hard when you're never gonna get this one how much is this and most kids know zero and I'll say holy cow you know zero I can't believe it if mom is around uh and I can buy all pre tell our say okay now we're going to a county game when I do that just get the number wrong okay and so I'll tell the kids ok how many's this and they'll say three and say ok mom let's see how smart you are how many is this and she'll say three and of course the kids laugh their heads off and I'm like your mom said three she's smart huh and uh we'll go ahead and play that and that's hilarious kids but where does mom have to be right behind the camera if she's over there then they're all gonna be laughing over there so make sure you have mom engaged as well now what if he's just too shy he's one of those clingy can't move kids this is so important in the toddler area we had like the perfect version of this last year this little guy was literally like velcro to his father and we were like prying him off but you know I wish we could show that because that one was really up perfect example of how to overcome that the first thing you need to know is that when mom comes in if you have a very clean e velcro e type child you tell mom you say you know what first of all I might try to put it on this chair if he jumps off just give a big hug that it's such an important thing because typically a child will jump off and grab mom and I said okay give big hugs tell me is okay so big hugs and then she'll put him back on he'll jump off again I'll say big hugs give big hugs and just give him lots of love a child will jump off a chair forty times and as long as they know they could jump off a hug mom and she's not going to force them to go back up this is where kids freak out is mom's like none other than I'll stay up here and she physically holds him there and it's with pressure because she thinks that she's supposed to and now that child what hey get me off here you never push me away you never hold me back and that causes that panic so the first thing with little ones I'll say okay if he jumps off just give a hug I don't we have a lot of time here and he needs to be comfortable so the more you tell him it's ok you're right there you can have him and it does mean that could take you know in the last year it did happen with about an eighteen month old it was we had to go fifteen twenty minutes just to get him to relax and then eventually we tricked him it ended up being a ball I think that we found a baseball and that was the connect that he started throwing it and then it was throwing it clean to dad throwing it clean too dad with the dad holding his hand here put the ball on the other hand he let go throw the ball and we got it so it's it's definitely trickery so if you out with them you will win and you have to be patient cyprus a patient there is always a way away that's the thing is I don't do re shoots I don't have to and it's not bragging or boasting it's just that I'm going to find that thing that connection peace the only time I do have to do reshoots and this does happen probably more than I'd like it too is a child is sick my schedule books out very far in advance it's hard to get in and I travel and my clients have to sort of be available and so I have had lots of parents who walk in with a child you clearly can't see red eyes they have a fever you know and I was like I didn't want to cancel because I know you can't get me back in and you know I know you're booked out first you know two months or whatever it is and I tell them I say you know what I'll go ahead and try this but honestly look at him his eyes already doesn't look like himself he looks like he's not feeling well and that is going to show up in the images so I appreciate you trying to keep your apartment but next time just cancel I will get you in and I will like I'll come in early to work in eight am if I have to or I'll stay late one night because taking a photograph in a child that's sick is going to give you bad images they're not going to invest anyway and I appreciate the parents concerned but that's very very rarely does that happen and very rarely do I have just a child that's so out of sorts and I'll ask mom I'll say you know is this normal behavior and if they say yeah he's just doesn't like this then I'll keep going and I'll get the shot but if mom's like I don't know what's wrong with you never acts like this then I'll say you know what something is bothering him it might not even be something we can find out it might be it stomach ache or something that we can't get a read on so let's not push him let's just bring him back in um this video the six video I'm gonna explain it before we showed up because watch how this little girl engages this is all about watching their expressions because what happens is we have the super shy little girl took me a while to get her on the floor without her mom watch her facial expression I'm gonna come in with a tickler watch how she pulls back and gets really serious I realize this is the case and I try the shiny tickle mommy and watch what happens you will see the exact moment that she engages in what I'm saying and then watch how high sort of trick her between me and mom we trick her to do the things that we want but watch even towards the end you'll see she gets comfortable and then all of sudden she realized well I'm doing what you want and she shuts back down and kind of how we get through that are you ready to go if you'd be my best answer good girl ok you stand right put your toes right here can you do that for me to get over a little bit this way right here put both your feet right here let's go this way ready one two three jump who job okay now I fixed address and you're gonna show me what you can to go okay miss alex let's see I'm gonna take a picture for a test looks good let's see do you know how to put your hands on your hips like this let's see can you do that not today don't know how to do that do you know how to put your hands up in the air no okay well what about spin in a circle no not at all okay that's okay let's see ms jericho here I have a game you know what she has this big tickler and she's gonna come in and she's gonna tickle your tummy and if she comes close you say for her and you scared her away okay don't let her get you safe should she tickle mommy first ready oh what's he gonna do him I'll come right over here you still tell oh my god oh my goodness good girl okay now miss shark is gonna come to ko you you say where are and scare her don't let her get to you ready say round round oh you got a beautiful that's cute okay now let's see if mommy knows how to spin around mom come right up here let's see if mom could dance in a circle oh she could do a good job he's gonna get a treat for sure what about miss alex alex oh you're going to get it oh you are getting a treat too okay now put your arms out he put your arms out let's see if you can spin with your arms out like a bird can you fly going oh that's a good and can you turn around and fly like that arms out good now let's see move her forward jericho just a little bit she's getting in the back light a little too much that's so good all right now I have another one that's kind of hard to do I don't know if you could do this but can you jump like this can you go jump oh how I missed that was doing again one two three jump well that was a great one that was through you now can you put your hands up in the air and I want to be a big help with your hands up one two three oh that was the best okay now spin one more time arms out like an airplane and make that dress go really pretty oh you're so good now I want you to go all the way to the back wall walk all the way back and now what I want you to do is you're gonna go all way back can you go way back and touch the wall oh you're a good listener you know what miss alex you might get to treats today all right so you saw that process you saw the exact second that she engaged she goes from very somber to should I take cho mami you see her eyes kind of open up and then as we move mom and we get closer you could just see it breaking out it's like a whole wall coming down and all of a sudden we break out and she you know gets all excited and happy now what about working with really hard kids just kids that do not want teo participate you know as I told you before I think that has a lot to do with the parents and how they are you know I've had everything from the spitting hitting kicking you name it I've seen it there is a point to that I think you should learn when to call it a day if you've got great kids and they're doing really well and they're starting to fall apart stop shooting because if you have it already the last thing you want to do is end on a low note the whole everybody fell apart somebody's crying because that's what mom walks out with I need to end on a high note so that mom goes oh my gosh you got it and I want mom to be just as excited as I am if you wear those kids out and push him that's why you know forty five minutes is enough for me I hear photographers that shoot two and three and four and five our customs sessions and I am absolutely not my way is not the right way it's just my theory but I hear about to our children sessions and I can't imagine what I would do with that kind of time because yes I know I could shoot through that and there would be a lot of creative variety but I just think there's so much loss of time there and so many just wasted shots a lot of editing and things I don't want to do so when you get to the point where you know that you're done and on that high note on dh this is ah little video example of not ending on a high note oh right wait got it they can come back that was great wait nobody's bleeding way that's right about there that you have to call when you start choking and hitting each other uh you're pretty much done so just you know keep that in mind that there is an end and the biggest thing is reward them at the end make sure they get the candy that's a really big deal is make sure that you get them the treats you promise because you can see their little sad faces like if you know I'm not very rarely but if a child goes to leave and alcide look at him you could almost feel an energy shift and you're like oh my gosh let's get your treat because they're getting all sad the whole time they've been thinking about that those treats and I still to this day probably ten thirteen years ago I had a mom that the child had promised candy and the mom left she came back a couple hours later I was still shooting out of the park and she came back because I am so sorry but he's so sad about the treat and I was to this day thirteen years later I still remember breaking that child's heart because I forgot a treat so it's it it's a big deal to them you know I mean it's something that if you promise it make sure that you haven't you fall through I want to make sure that you understand this because when you're dealing with mom's this is the bigger problem for me it's not the kids I get that kids have off days and are a little bit crazy it's the neurotic mom that I think we all have to deal with it gets a little bit frustrating so the biggest thing is from the get go we have to tell mom the rules we have to make sure that she understands and when I say say the rules I don't it's not something that's so formal that I'm going to say okay here are the rules of photography most of them are based on the stages thank you use it most of them are based on the stages in the ages so it's more of explaining your child is at this age this is what they're going to do I do out of the gate always say okay now the first thing I want you to know when you're here is this we haven't never say no rules so no matter what your child does they're okay to do it I said safety is of course an issue but if they're going to do something just grab them and hug them don't tell them no don't tell them don't touch we keep the studio pretty safe and we just want to make sure that they feel comfortable explain that if you say no it's negative and they will feel like they're doing something wrong now when they when they spit on you feel free to say no they spit on you but usually that's that's not the case but yes so we want parents to know don't tell them no no matter what they're doing don't tell them no um one of my biggest frustrations and this happens sometimes with dad you know you get a little boy that's being a little indifferent and being difficult and he won't sit and he won't listen you wanted you know I've had dads and it's it's rare thank heavens but a dad you know pick up a child and swat him on the butt and say knock it off and I'm like well thanks that helps a lot now because screaming crying hysterical and upset is way better than wiggly so you know and it's very frustrating so that's why those kind of experiences I've not had that in years because we address it before we start but you know the first time somebody spank their child and it's not about spankings it's a choice thing but it's about wrecking the session you know you have a dad spank their child they're not coming back they're not gonna be happy they're not going to know it takes fifteen minutes to get the red out of their eyes and that's with a lot of bribery and I've lost that technique and it's just it's something where through those techniques I address both parents before I start so there is no spanking there is no no there is none of that stuff but what do you do about like mom who's just out of control bugging the child you know licking the hair and fixing the dress and a constant touch or what we have a technique called the mother buffer and what this is is when you have an annoying and parent um this is actually called a mother buffer and this is the tool that we use so if you have a mom and this works really well they have their own cameras if they go to pick up we have a policy that they cannot have their own cameras so it's not a huge issue when they sign a release it says no cameras video too so they know it but you'd be surprised how many try to sneak in a shot there like acting like they're on their phone here like chink can hear that so whenever mom picks up a camera or she's really being annoying I'll say I'll get what I need you to do me a favor and keep in mind this is not about lighting we could be in a studio we could be on location doesn't matter I'll say you know what I'm having trouble with the lighting can you do me a favor can you hold this okay what I need to do is go over here and I'll put us like thirty feet away I mean this is just his far away as I can I'm like okay what I need you to do is I need you to hold this up okay right up there like that and put one foot out okay now lean a little bit right there now come you just stink just like that don't move okay don't move okay got it little till right there don't move and I who put it there and if she goes to like move or like you know change anything I'll say uh hey just get the light back right there perfect or you know and if she's like talking a lot I'll say okay do me a favor put this right here okay a little bit there don't move you can't you can't see anything I'm doing so the mother buffer is an awesome way to control mom and the best part about this is she thinks she's helping you and a lot of times I mean I'll say looking back in time to see that like that's all you thank you you did it right job so she's like yeah I did that and I love that and you know what we've had times where we've had to take grandma and grandpa and a cousin and mom and all four of us I'm holding reflected like you there you there you right there hold that up way why hi grandpa way up there hi grandpa okay good nobody could touch a camera nobody khun bug you and everybody's out of the way and I'll say be real quiet and just hold it don't move and I will say I turn it turn it a little bit okay you got it has nothing to do with lighting it has to do with controlling people so the mother both buffer everybody's gotta have a mother buffer that's an important one and I was worked for senior portrait they're more likely to purchase that portrait because because they help because they helped exactly and that's why I'll show in the back of the camera say do you see that little separator right there that's all you you did that you know that I am being sincere if I can get them to help me with lighting I will but most of the time I used it I'm actually pushing them out of the way like twenty feet back um and just saying k don't move and they don't know and it works when you are telling them the rules do you I mean do you tell them you know don't worry if he's not sitting don't worry lee like you know don't go after him and let me handle everything just kind of sit back and correct and I'll say I'm going to need your help there's some games I'm gonna play so when I engage you please jump in but otherwise just stay back there be quiet because honestly and this is the exact answer I give I usually say first of all your child loves you way more than they love me so anything you do move or say they're going to focus on you so as much as I am going to need your help in the beginning I have to create a relationship so if you could just stay back stay real quiet I'm gonna get them engaged with what I'm doing then I'm gonna pull you in and you're gonna be my partner is that okay you're gonna help me get through this and they get that so that's you know when I hear of newer photographer saying my parents are driving me nuts it's because you haven't had and the sad part about it is because you haven't had all the negative experiences that teach you that like the spank I've not had a person spank a child in years but it's because I started to acknowledge that it could happen and I address it but the rules it's a very short conversation and it's based on this stage of the child I'm not going to tell a two year old mama say does your child make cheesy smiles because they don't you know it's just it's all day based on where they are so no matter what you do did you question well I was just wondering like what happens if they don't follow the rules and you know you're in fifteen minutes into the session and never mind keep going well you know in there doing exactly what you told them not to you know they're telling o make sure your style sit up straight don't do this don't do that and you're over there okay told you not to butt and that's the thing that comes up tio asking mom to leave very rare so thank you just going to show but uh thank you it's the reality is I try never to have a parent I want the parent to be a part of the experience because I sell in camera I mentioned that's a wall part of this is gonna be an awesome collage I need her to hear those things but worst case scenario and very rarely is it that mom is annoying but if she is annoying also you know what your little guy's having a bit of trouble here and I feel like he's really connected to you it's that love thing again he wants you he doesn't want me so I'm gonna have you leave the room but I don't want you to scare him so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna tell him you're gonna go get a treat so if you can walk out and pretend like you're getting between also you want to come back in so I'll turn to the little guy and also okay mama's gonna go get you a treating some juices that okay and that will disconnect her cause treat trump small you know treat trump's car you learn these things mom leaves the room and now I have total control where I do kick out mom more than I ever have to is when I have a really clean a child then what happens and there's a full technique that I have to do where I have to find something better than mom and so you shall say do you like puppies you know that two year old kiddies you like puppies and when they say alyssa do you want to see my puppy and I'll pick them up and at that point they will go to you it's like a candy things so also can squeezing my puppy and I'll pick them up and I'll have pre told mom when I get him and he turns his back on you leave the room and so then I can pick them up and I'll walk over to a window and I'll see do you see my puppy she's under the car do you see her you know and they're looking they're like yeah I can see her and like oh look she's so cute dues here oh that's okay you know what let's go back and sit down okay I'll take them back in the room and I'll go to sit them down and all of sudden they're aware mom's not there and I will say oh you know what mommy that you treat okay do you want some treats okay we'll sit right here and I'll go get your mommy do you realize what I just did I just acknowledge it and I'm gonna get mommy just sit right here now on the way back to the camera I completely shift gears and I'll say to remember my puppy okay well I'm gonna get mommy but remember my puppy she's so little huh and their head is racing like mom puppy mom but you know what I mean is you're here and so I cut off that connection and I can get that shot I have so many moms there their minds are blown when I do that they're like I cannot believe you just did that like a child that is literally clinging with claws to mom and I could disconnect him but it's trickery and it took me years to get that but it's psychology it's what it's how to shift their mode so um that's the reality very rarely do I kick a mom out I want her in the room but if I have to theirs system to get her out of the room there are times that you just cannot win this is one of those awesome stories that when this happened brandon was brand new I think it was like his first week on the job and we were out shooting a video for uh you know to show teach people photography and I had another shooter out in the field and she was working with us a paying client and hopefully this plant's not around but also that we hear the screaming and yelling and I'm literally it was like a bloody murders and what is going on and so brandon I haul through the trees and we're literally after imagine we're crouched down in the trees watching this happen in this poor photographer she's one of my shooters but she's out there in this mall and I I heard I was in the parking lot when she went through the rules with mom she said okay you know we're in charge this day you know stay back we're going to engage the kids just be quiet the holes they love you more than me should cover this whole thing so you just have to imagine we're crouched in the bushes and this moms in the pink shirt and this is what we're watching who does that honestly what is that grandma is in the yellow shirt way so uh yeah that was awesome because I'm in the bushes were dying like this is the funny thing we've ever seen and callie stands up and she sees me snickering in the bushes and she's like you got it you're doing good you keep going you know what I was doing the whole mom it's just like why are you so it was awesome because this one was so out of control she did that for an hour straight it's and I wish you could hear the voice because it was screaming as screeching us nothing you could dio I mean it was a tough session there were every time I see something like that I'm like head swaps because that's what you're going to be doing that's definitely fix it in a photo shop scenario

Class Description

Sandy Puc' returns to creativeLIVE for her Tots to Teens workshop! Sandy covers all aspects of creating a successful photography plan that spans from the young toddler years to the early teens. She shares her creative marketing ideas and practical business sense to attract and keep happy clients, and you'll learn how to create repeat customers—and stable income—by continually bringing clients back to update their child's portraits as they grow.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Tots to Teens - Day 1 Keynote Slides.pdf

Tots to Teens - Day 2 Keynote Slides.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Sandy Puc, I have attended a few of your events, in person and now on Creative Live. You never fail to deliver the gift of sharing your expertise and more. I am always amazed at how you have juggled a large family, your photography business with the university added, the teaching events that you do & the genuine donation of your love and time that you give with your foundation, NILMDTS among other things. You're an impressive & inspirational lady. Each time I see you, you refuel me, as this economy has been trying. Thank you. I bought the 3 day workshop, because it is a little hard to sit for 3 days straight without life and business distractions. I will watch again, and reference back as needed. I also bought your display kit for doctor offices/hospitals & malls. Thank you again for your amazing workshop and all that you so unselfishly give of yourself. Diana Brown Photography


This is by far the best photography class I have ever taken! Sandy does an amazing job at what she does!

Christine David

This is an absolute must have course for anyone who works with children. Watching Sandy work her magic is worth the cost alone. Fabulous workshop Sandy! Christine David Photography