The Power of Yes



If you’ve seen a child running when they shouldn’t and called out to them, “Stop running!” you are one of many. While sometimes it may work, the problem with that is the child may only focus on the “running” part of the communication.

Instead, if you were to call out “Use your walking feet!” The child hears “walking feet” and will more likely obey.

There is power to positive talk.

As a photographer when you choose the power of YES, your communications and interactions will take on a positive tone.


Here are four real-life ways to turn No’s into Yes’s.


1. “Don’t pick your nose.”

When shooting children they are bound to do a number of things contrary to your hopes and dreams. Instead of getting frustrated by lack of cooperation, see if you can put a positive spin on it. If the child is sitting in dad’s lap, instead of chastising the child and then dad would turn to enforce, embarrassed by his child’s performance, see what you can have the child to DO.

So instead, “Can you tickle Daddy?” Or “Can you turn your hands into stars– can you make them twinkle?”

2. “No, I won’t photoshop that out.”

Your clients think you’re magical. And you are. You capture their smiles and laughter for them to remember always. But do you want to take 5-50 minutes per photo to edit out the zits/braces/flyaways? No. Will you be willing to for an additional charge? Maybe. Saying “No,” on the spot may make them even MORE self-conscious about something they wish won’t be in the photos.

Instead you can say, “Everything you receive will be edited. If you prefer additional enhancements and touchups, anything you order XxX or larger will have those included on the print.” And hopefully your materials, either electronic or print, had already explained that beforehand of what to expect.

3. “Don’t let that chocolate get on their outfit.”

Please have a discussion with parents before the session about what kinds of snacks/drinks to bring. Some people won’t think it through that little chocolate candies in a toddler’s mouth WILL drip onto their beautiful outfit. Be prepared with your own simple treats if parents are cool with sugar, such as smarties.

Instead of having to fight the onslaught of colored saliva, say “If it turns out we need some bribery are you guys okay if I offer smarties as we’re shooting? I really want to reserve for when I think it’s time, but i just wanted to check with you first to make sure that’s alright with you.” Make sure you’ve warned them to wait until the final home stretch of the shoot to promise any big bribes like dinner out or any reward that can’t be given immediately. If the parent starts the shoot with “If you’re good we’ll go to the playground after” then you’re in for it. All they want is the playground, and they will keep not getting it. Be in control of all bribery!

4. “Don’t put your hand there.”

It might seem super basic, but talk in positives when trying to pose your subjects. They’re likely already feeling nervous about being in front of your camera. If they follow your directions and still are looking awkward, take a few sympathy shots, and then make an adjustment.

So instead you can say, “Great! Now let’s do one where you’re leaning this way. Much better! Can you relax your hand for me? Exactly what I want. Wow, you follow directions so well, thank you!” Find ways that feel natural to you so you can genuinely praising your client and looking for what they’re doing well. As you go along in your shoot, they will begin to trust you. You’ll find what ways they respond well to your directions and they’ll get more relaxed for you.


When you say no to a child, they may feel they’ve done something wrong, or maybe that you’re mean. Bigger “kids” can feel versions of that as well. So pay attention to what you say, and find a way to put a positive spin on it!

DID YOU ENJOY THIS POST? You can have all our blog posts delivered straight to your inbox or feed reader. Just click here. It’s never been so easy to stay educated, informed, and inspired!
Amber Fife

Amber Fife


She brings her years of experience working with Photoshop as well as Artificial Light — wonderful skills for you to have to take your photography to the next level.

Despite being a world traveler, Amber loves being at home with her 3 boys and husband. She loves curling up with a good book, and editing her pictures– it’s like Christmas morning every time she gets home from a shoot, when she gets to download and edit her pictures. She hopes you can find the joy of learning to love your images and not be overwhelmed by Photoshop any longer.
Amber Fife