Now that fall is officially in the air, family photo sessions are in full swing! I’m excited about all the families I will get to hang out with in the next few weeks. I also had my own family photos done just yesterday and I am very pleased with the results. (How does a photographer get her family pics done? Lucky for me I am blessed with a fantastic photo sister-in-law). Having just gone through the experience personally, I thought I’d give you all some tips to make your shoot stress-free and fun.
1) Choose your outfits in advance. I took my time gathering pieces so I could reflect on my outfit choices. I analyzed how things looked together, using the power of my iPhone. :) As I completed our outfits I hung them on hangers all together in the closet, down to socks, shoes and even earrings. By the time picture day arrived all I had to do was dress us! This completely de-stressed getting ready.
2) Showcase YOUR family’s personality. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you can’t be yourself. Choosing outfits and even props for your family photos should help you express who you are as a family. If you love the look of everyone wearing red for Christmas – do it. If you love a mash up of fun colors – do it. If you have a team you cheer for together, a favorite saying, a beloved family activity, work it into your photos. Don’t wear something you hate. I’m not going to lie – – this year I was inspired to dress everyone in a way that allowed me to wear my favorite cardigan. Sneaky sneaky. (This is one photo from my family session this year with my parents, kids, hot hubby and me. Taken by the great Lori-Lynn Navarro)
3) Practice smiling. Seriously. Look at yourself in the mirror and practice smiling your realest, best smile. If you can do it in front of yourself, you’ll be able to do it for the camera!
4) Feed your kids. It doesn’t matter when you plan your shoot: your kids (and/or spouse!) are going to get tired and hungry. Nothing curbs the crankies like snacks. Prep your kids with something that won’t amp them up on a sugar high and will keep them full for longer. My boys got string cheese and organic squeezie yogurts before our shoot. Take a non-messy snack (apple slices, raisins, cheese, etc.) to shamelessly bribe them during the shoot. Also, stay hydrated! Water makes everything better. :)
5) Let your kids be kids. Pinterest might be one of the worst things to happen to kids. Don’t get me wrong, it is great for inspiration – but let me just say this- It is ok if your kids don’t look like a perfect Baby Gap ad in every shot. I always bribe my kids to smile and look at the camera for at least a few, but I also love the random shots of them being just flat out ridiculous because that is who they really are! Tongue sticking out shots, fingers in the nose shots, arms up Superman-style, even crying while everyone else is smiling shots are SO awesome. Don’t you worry, I WILL get a shot of everyone smiling and looking pleasant – but it’s ok if your little ones aren’t forcing a “CHEESE” smile the ENTIRE time. Some of the best photos happen when you are just interacting with each other or you let them wander, climb and explore.
6) Help your kids smile real smiles. Don’t tell your kids over and over to, “Say Cheese!” Tickle them, toss them, say a funny word, play peek-a-boo from behind the photographer. Get them giggling in the direction the photographer is asking them to look. The magic hilarious word for my boys is “toilet”.
7) Have ideas, but trust your photographer. You are a smart, creative person. It’s true. I LOVE hearing my clients’ ideas for desired poses and settings and working with you to create something similar, and hopefully even better than you imagined! If you are doing a large family shoot, feel free to help your photographer out by making a list of shots with various match ups of people so you don’t forget what you wanted. Discuss these ideas before the shoot starts. Once the shoot starts, let your photographer do her job. Gentle reminders with regard to your list are great, but don’t forget, you are also smart enough to have chosen a creative photographer who will come up with something unique for YOUR family. In other words, YOU could be the next rage on Pinterest if you don’t pigeon-hole your photographer into doing a long list of poses someone else already “pinned”. :)
8) RELAX. Mom and Dad, your job is to be relaxed and enjoy your family. Period. When it’s time for all of you to be in the shot, don’t worry about directing your kids. A simple, “OK guys, let’s listen to Miss Emily,” will do. I love kids. I am great with kids. I have worked with kids since I was 12 years old. I HAVE kids. I will be nice to them and get them to listen to me and look at the camera in the most fun way possible! If you are coaching your little ones the whole time, when I finally get them looking and smiling, you are talking, grimacing, looking at them to see if they are looking at me, and just plain frazzled. You worry about you! Focus on looking cute, handsome, etc., and being thankful that you have such an amazing family! Using the photo shoot as an opportunity just to be together is what makes your photos amazing.
I promise, a successful family photo session is in your grasp. Together we will make it happen!