The truth is that family photo sessions are not always stress-free. But with the right preparation, it can turn into fun and enjoyable family experience that result in beautiful photos of authentic family moments.
The key is to plan in advance and know what to expect, so that on the day of your session you can be relaxed and simply enjoy the family time.
People often have questions leading into the session, so I have put together a few tried-and-true solutions that will help you to get the most of your photography experience.
#1 Clothing ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ or Dress for success!
I do not mind any clothing style you choose, but in fact, what you wear will contribute to how you look in the photos.
- Do not wait with the wardrobe decision till the very last day. Plan those details in advance. There’s nothing more stressful than trying to get out the door and realising you have nothing to wear or your husband’s shirt badly needs ironing.
- Consider layering – it will be easy if it gets chilly or very warm. Layering will also ensure variety of looks in photos.
- Do dress for the place and the weather! Fantastic summer dress does not go very well with blue lips nor does shiny high heels with rocky forest road.
- Don’t wear matching clothes! Instead of matchy-matchy jeans and T-shirts choose coordinating colours. Grey hues, neutrals and earth tones with some bolder accents are always a safe way to go.
- I advise avoiding huge brand logos, bright applications or sophisticated patterns just to make sure that a grand ‘Mickie’ on a T-shirt does compete with a child’s face 🙂
- Consider accessorising! Hats, scarves, bowties, suspenders, headbands will add a modern twist, movement, visual interest and really help your photos to stand out.
- Last but not least, make sure you all feel comfortable in your outfits and can breathe and move freely!
#2 Prepare your children
A photo session needs to be the event of the day, especially if you have younger children. Don’t plan some big activities (in example, going to the zoo) and exhaust children beforehand.
Organise your day to ensure that children are in good shape for the session time. The best time for lighting in summer is the two hours before sunset and after sunrise. So, if your session is scheduled for sunset – put your children for a later nap.
And – do not let little ones to sleep the car ride to the session. They’ll be passive and cranky from being waken up, and that’s hard to recover from.
Children should arrive with full bellies! If you have dinner plans after the session, make sure to give everyone a healthy snack before the shoot.
Frame the session as fun – tell them about a fun event to look forward to, followed by a treat, for instance, ice cream. If your children get nervous around new people or in new settings, explain them in advance of what is going to happen. If they only want, let them bring their favourite toy to get a special photo with. Make sure you sound excited about the photo session, otherwise children will easily pick up your stress.
#3 Plan the day
Most of the times, moms are in rush before leaving making sure that their family is dressed and ready. Nothing spoils a child’s (or even dad’s) mood faster than too many clothing changes, too many locations, and too many props. So sometimes it’s better to keep it simple but manageable rather than overload with too much details striving to perfection.
If you are getting a makeup professionally done, leave at least an hour to let it set into the skin – makeup will look much better then. And of course, enough time for showers, baths, dressing, and grooming. Having enough time for preparation and feeling relaxed goes a long way in a photo shoot.
If the session is planned for specific lighting conditions, like sunset, please arrive to the session place on time for a simple reason – the sun will not wait and you will miss the beautiful lighting you were targeting for.
#4 A note for dads
Quite a lot of dads dread photo sessions or being photographed in general. I would suggest to consider these photos as legacy for your children and children of your children. Once you see your happy wife and beautiful photos, I can assure that you will be glad of having done that.
Do you have some game that your children love? What about reading a book? Board games? Cards? Scooter? Picnic? Piggyback rides? Balloons? Bubbles? Kicking soccer ball? Painting? Or they love ice cream bars? Bring it along! Including some activity will give something to do for their hands and feet, add natural smiles into faces and some authentic moments to your session.
#6 Smiling and looking at the camera is not mandatory
The happiest moments happen when you do not look at the camera or demand young children to smile. We have all seen how those fake children smiles look like 🙂 The goal is to make children smile naturally and capture the true essence of your child’s personality (even if the child is non-smiley), so the best thing is to interact with children playfully.
Not every picture needs to have everyone looking and smiling at the camera at the same time. I am always chasing for natural interactions, unposed moments, authentic expressions. I believe that the cosiest photographs are the ones where everyone is engaged with each other. And in most cases, these are the sweetest and the most cherished ones because they depict your relationship and family connection.
Simply focus on love! Laugh. Kiss. Play. Tickle. Snuggle. Kiss. Have fun. Giggle. Joke. Embrace. And kiss once again. Doing these things will bring true emotions and create circumstances to capture the real moments and your love through the lens.
In the end, it’s not about what clothes you wear, or the location, or how much you weigh. It’s about showing your children how much you love them and how you are now.
#7 Checklist just before leaving
- Keys/ phones out of pockets;
- Scrunchies/ fitbit/ sports watches removed from wrists (unless they are very dear and you particularly want to keep them on);
- Kids’ noses and eyes wiped;
- Clothing ironed.
#8 Checklist of what to bring
- Snacks for children – something quick, easy and non-staining;
- Backup clothes for toddlers;
- Blanket to sit on;
- Your child’s favourite toy.
#9 Talk to me!
If there’s something you feel self-conscious about, let me know before the session. I can advise how to better approach it or apply some angles/ posing to ensure that you like yourself in pictures.
If you have any additional questions please send me a note! I’m here to help!