I'm writing this blog post because I want you to know that anyone can be a part of a beautiful family session. You can even have fun too! Our kids grow up so fast and the days of tickles, snuggles, tossing a child in the air are all of a sudden gone. Make sure you get family photos every once in a while, so you can have these memories. A photograph is so powerful. Let's capture these dear memories, so you will have them to keep forever, even after kids have grown and move out of the house.
Tip 1: Choose a kid friendly photographer.
Trust me, having a photographer who knows how to talk to kids and is willing to interact with them is going to be huge! If your photographer is stiff and doesn't connect well with the kids, you are definitely not going to have a relaxed time and your photos won't be very fun. Ask friends who have kids to get referrals and when you are looking through the photographer's website, make sure there are fun family photos with kids in them.
Tip 2: Dress kids for the weather and comfort
You will all be so much more comfortable if you are dressed appropriately for the weather. If it is cold, dress in layers, nice coats, bring blankets for little you are carrying around. ( I try to bring a couple blankets as well, just in case.) Does the weather worry you? Well, don't let it. We can have fun in the rain, bundle up and snuggle in the cold. If it is windy we will play and enjoy the movement the breeze gives. Also, make sure you try on clothes for your kids a couple weeks before photos, just in case they have all of a sudden grown out of their clothes. We want everyone to feel good and comfy in their outfit!
Tip 3: Choose a fun location that fits your family.
Choose a location where you can have fun. I like open fields where there is room to wiggle,run and have fun. Maybe there is a location that is meaningful to your family, let's go there!
Tip 4: Choose a time of year that fits with your family's schedule.
The time of family sessions depends on sunset. I know this can be pretty late some times of the year, so if you have young kids, plan your session in late fall or early spring. I usually try to schedule a session for 1 1/2 - 2 hours before sunset.
Tip 5: Remember to just have fun!
It's okay if your kids are a little more wild than you are use to. Just remember to smile and go with the flow, as long as everyone is safe. Let your kids be kids during a photo session. Sure they may make a lot of silly faces, but it really only takes me a faction of a second to capture the in between "happy face" or capture the laughter after they did something silly. So, don't stress about kid behavior. Just embrace their silly little imperfections and show your love. This captures the best photos. If they do something maybe a little naughty, just small and tell them to come give you a hug and do your best to redirect them. We want to do our best to not "get them in trouble." Then no one is happy.
Tip 6: Prep your kids ahead of time.
Tell them you'll have a fun time and all they have to do is stay together and snuggle and play with your family. If you have a child that might be a little nervous about photos, feel free to bring their favorite stuffy or small toy. That is no biggie and will help them feel a little more comfortable and warm up.
Tip 7: Moms, remember, we set the mood for photo day.
I'm sure this is no surprise, but Moms, we set the mood for these photos. Kids and husband might not be super excited about photos, but if you can just look past that and just enjoy each other, you will be well on your way to helping your family enjoy the session too. Remember not to get really upset with your family before and especially not during photos. Set the bar very low for family photos and just play and love on your family. I promise this is going to give you the best photos and help others to be in better moods, if they are even struggling with that. Try not to have expectations on exactly how your children should act. Just let the photographer run the show and capture the sweet moments. Live in the moment. Having low expectations and relaxing during your photos is going to be more comfortable for everyone. Often times the photos that are of complete chaos are my favorite. If things get a little crazy, just keep smiling, maybe even laugh about it.
Tip 8: Trust your photographer.
Believe it or not, but trusting your photographer is going to help you have a more fun and relaxed photo session. Let the photographer run the show and tell you want to do, then do it. They know what is going to photograph well and what is going to give giggles, etc.
Tip 9: Make sure outfits, hair, snacks, etc. are ready beforehand.
Don't wait until the night before to put outfits together. And pack a little back with mess-free snacks if you think you might need to bride kids. Make sure everyone is fed before the session. Then don't be afraid to bribe kids with an ice cream treat or something after photos are done. Get haircuts a week before so it gives you a bit of time to adjust to any changes.
Tip 10: Find a lifestyle family photographer.
Photos are not going to be all about sit and smile at the camera. We don't want that. Sometimes I'll ask the kids to look at the camera for an individual photo. If they don't end up wanting to look at the camera, no problem. I'll just follow them around and capture them individually having fun and exploring. The best photos are the ones that show each other's true personalities. That is where lifestyle photos are going to be your best friend. You might be more familiar with the term "candid" photos. My poses are pretty much little games the family gets to play. Kids even get a little break here and there when the photos get to focus is on the parents' photos.
Tip 11: My last tip...get there early.
Plan to get parked at your photo location a good 10 minutes before your session.
If you don't have a family photo session booked with me yet this year, CLICK HERE to get things rolling. I can't wait to hear from you!