Best in show
So, you’re getting your family pictures taken this year? You want them to be the best yet? I’m sharing my top 5 tips on having the best family photography session. They may not be what you think…
I’m getting ready to head into my busy season. Once school starts and the chaos dwindles down, the preparation for family sessions begin. The planning stages always happen months before for photographers and I get excited for the weather to cool down. It happens every year…I get the inevitable questions on what to wear, the fears that their kids aren’t going to listen, and the gut wrenching idea that it will be brutal.
The awesome part? I’m going to share my top 5 secrets that make a photography session epic.
Before I begin with the top 5, I want to preface this post by telling you that if you’ve had a less than desirable family session before, please don’t let that stop you from trying again. You guys may have had an off day, maybe you didn’t really vibe with the photographer, or simply wasn’t in the cards for you that particular day. I’m here to tell you, YOUR family can have an amazing session. I promise.
1: Leave all your expectations at home
You know that whole threatening your children to smile at the camera while you’re pulling up to your session? Yeah, that doesn’t work. Bribery? Maybe, but yelling at your children only makes them more uncomfortable and sets them up to be disappointed.
What does work? Having expectations that are realistic. Should they be respectful? Of course, but remember these are children and children have a mind of their own. They all have bad days just like us. They wake up cranky, maybe they didn’t get that red cup for lunch they wanted, or they fought with their siblings on the way. Stuff happens guys. Leave it to us to turn those frowns upside down (too cheesy? lol).
2: Go with the flow
Most of the children I photograph don’t know me. They have this woman snapping her camera like a fool at them and they have no idea who I am. If they have met me before, lets be real…kids don’t remember what happened 2 days ago, let alone me taking their pictures 6 months ago. Let them warm up.
If you have a good photographer, she/he will allow that warmth to take place naturally, not forcing anything. I’ve brought bubbles, a fart machine, or I run around and act like a complete fool because I know what works.
3: Clothing choices will not make or break your session
Yes, it’s nice to have everyone looking their best, but if clothing is the only reason you’ve steered cleared of booking a session, now is the time to let that go. Ask your photographer for help. Let him/her guide you into choosing the best colors for a beautiful family image. Best rule of thumb: if you feel your best in what you have chosen, it will show up in the images. I have a whole Pinterest board for help. You can even check out Click Magazine’s article that is amazing!!!!
4: Be photographed exactly how you are
Have a kid picking their nose during the session? Great, have it captured. Is crying beginning to happen? Awesome. Have them take that image too. What I mean is that this is your family, tears and joys. You’ll look back on these images and remember that you made it. You have children who will see you IN those images. Smiling away as they have an absolutely meltdown. I even have a whole blog post on exactly this thing: Take better images of your children.
Hands down the best sessions I’ve ever photographed are with the families who want all those memories remembered. They don’t care that their daughter’s hair looked perfect or their son was smiling like a baboon. They were in the moment with them.
5: trust your photographer
My sessions are a piece of me. They are my art transferred onto files for your family. I want nothing more than for you to cherish these images for a lifetime. I have a feeling that whoever you have hired feels the exact same way. Does he/she want you to move slightly to the left? Then it’s for good reason. Do they want you to stand this way or that way? It’s because they see something that could be magical. Trust them. Leave all those self doubts about your “good” side back at the car. They see your beauty. They want to you to see it too.
Don’t forget to laugh. Life is too short to be serious all the time. Let your kids tickle you, run around like a chicken with their head cut off (bad example? lol), and just be with them.