As a mom of two littles, I can honestly admit getting family photos is stressful. I am always worried that they won't cooperate, or they will be acting crazy and look ridiculous (and so will I as I try to reel them in for photos)! I've come across a few helpful tips over the years doing family photography and compiled a list for you! Hopefully with the help of these tips you'll be able to have a stress free family photography experience!
Also, if you have booked a session with me, I include these tips, as well as a few other nuggets of information (ex: what to wear) for you in our beginning stages of planning!
Pick your outfits in advance! Don't be "Last Minute Lacey" and go shopping the night before your session! Choose clothes that you feel comfortable in. Choose clothes for your kiddos that they feel comfortable in! I've seen those toddlers stuffed into cute little outfits that they hate - trust me it doesn't end well. Shoes are not to be overlooked. Wear shoes you can walk in (and dance, and run, and play - because that's what we do at our photo sessions)!
Speaking of outfits, choose colours and patterns that coordinate well together. If someone in the family is wearing a patterned top/dress pull from those colours for the rest of the family! After booking your session, I will be sending a "What to Wear" Guide with lots more helpful tips. If you're unsure about something, text me, email me, face time me, I am more than willing to help you with your final sections.
Be as rested and relaxed as possible. Try to get a good sleep the night before. Prioritize kid's nap time that day. Obviously we will always try to plan for times when your kiddos are well rested and the light is ideal, but in the event that it isn't, I always recommend an extra nap or earlier nap to make sure your little ones are as content as we can get them!
Plan ahead. Try to make the day as stress free as possible. Don't try to schedule a soccer game, lunch with Grandma, an afternoon at the pool, and your photos on the same day. Kids will be tired by the end of all that. If you are rushed, you will be stressed, and everyone feels that energy in the family. Give yourself more time than you think you'll need. Especially if you are going to get your hair/makeup done somewhere beforehand. Plan so that your appointment should be done at minimum an hour before you have to leave for photos!
Make sure everyone has eaten something before the session. Pack a non-messy snack or drink for the kids if you think they might need some energy partway through the session.
Make your session more personal. While props are defiantly not the main focus of your family photos, they can help to create unique family photo heirlooms. If you have a special blanket you want to bring, bring it! If you have an activity you like to do with the kids, bring that - books, ice cream, bubbles, a guitar - I have had all of these things at sessions before, and they add a special magic!
Leave the cheese at home. If kids don't want to say cheese and smile, don't force it. I will always make sure to capture a few "look at the camera and smile" portraits of your family, but as a lifestyle photographer that is not my main goal.
Calm down. All kids are crazy. Chances are, I've seen crazier. I have kids, they are crazy! Don't worry about your kids going bananas at the session. Thats normal. Calm down. We will give them a minute while they have their drama queen moment, then carry on!
TRUST ME! Chances are you hired me because you saw something you liked in my work. Please trust me to capture your family just as beautiful. I will absolutely try to capture a specific pose you may want, but please trust my artistic style and creative discretion. You are missing out on the magic and experience I can provide if you want to direct your own photo shoot. Besides - isn't that why you are paying me?
Just have fun. I want you to smile genuinely, play with your kids, laugh loudly, kiss your partner, give your youngest a piggy back ride. It is hard to be yourself, or unwind in front of a camera. I do my very best with all sorts of games and prompts to get you comfortable. If you think you look silly, don't worry, I am right there looking and acting silly with you.