Family photo sessions can be stressful, especially with small children but here are some tips to help prepare before your session so you can get the most out of the experience!
1. Choose clothing carefully.
Consider what you will wear well in advance and make sure that your outfit choices are comfortable and attractive. What do your dream family photos look like? If they are soft and elegant? Chose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics (think creams, very soft pastels, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues). Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family? Choose coordinating colors (but not too matching) with bold accent colors, such as hues of gray with yellow or bright red accents. Adding fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images.
2. Be well rested and well fed.
Be certain not to schedule your photo session around your child’s nap or bedtime. The best time for lighting is the two hours before sunset and after sunrise. If this is a bad time for your children, talk with me because we can capture beautiful images at almost any time of day (except in the dark). Also don’t show up to a photo shoot on an empty stomach. If your plan is to eat a meal after your session, be sure to give everyone a healthy snack before the photo shoot to tide them over!
3. Be sure to leave plenty of time to get ready.
Moms are often rushing around before a photo shoot, making sure that their family is dressed and ready. Moms need to take time to do their own hair and make-up before preparing everyone else. When mom is feeling pretty and confident, this will reflect on the rest of the family. When a family shows up to a family photo session rushed and disorganized, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganized session. Give yourself extra time so that you are ready before it’s time to head out that door.
4. Dads also set a tone, make it a good one.
Dads, please cheerfully participate. I know that many dads dread the family photo session, but if dad is dragging or complaining, the entire tone of the session will set up for less than desired images. These images will be left as a legacy, when your children are grown, with families of their own some day. Dads who cheerfully participate will see a happy mom and amazing photographs, and you will be so glad that you gave this time to your family.
5. Cheese is for crackers.
Please leave the “cheese” at home. Cheese is for crackers. So many times parents demand young children to look at the camera to smile which only stresses the children out and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs. Step back, and allow me to naturally interact and talk with your children. This will allow me to capture natural, gorgeous smiles. Help me capture the true essence of your child’s personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally and easily.
6. Have fun with your family.
Don’t be afraid to pick up your children and toss them in the air. Give your wife a sweet kiss on the check. Tell your husband how much you love him and appreciate him for being there for your family. Have fun. Laugh. Giggle. Joke. Embrace. Kiss. Snuggle. Play. Doing these things will allow me to capture the emotion and true beauty of your family. Leave the stiff “cheese” faces for Aunt Maggie at the next family reunion. Show me who you really are, so that I have the opportunity to capture your love through my lens.
7. Consider what you enjoy doing together as a family.
My most successful family sessions have incorporated an activity that the family loves to do together. This gives you something to do with your hands and feet, engages the little ones, and brings an authentic smile to your face. Ideas: football, piggy back rides, races, bike riding, hiking, singing, picnics, the ideas are endless. When families are engaged in doing something that they love together, I will have the opportunity to take some beautiful and authentic photographs.
8. Not everyone has to be looking and smiling at the camera at the same time.
The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other. Understand that not every picture needs to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. If you are engaged as a family and loving on each other, your eyes will be on your family members and your smile with be natural. These are the photographs that you will cherish most because they depict your family connection and your love.