So you’ve decided it’s time for long overdue family photos. Maybe you were waiting until the kids were a bit older and “easier to manage”, or maybe you were holding off until you felt like your family was complete. Either way, you won’t make this investment lightly. You want to make sure you have the right kind of photographer and you want things to go smoothly.
I get it. I’ve been there.
As a family photographer I frequently hear that people have been putting off family photos because they weren’t sure how everyone would behave. When you’re my client you get access to a specific area on my website that details how to prepare for your Family Photo session, but I want to share this blog post for those that are still undecided about booking or feeling anxious about how their family might “perform”.
Let go of Perfect
First, let me say this. There is a no such thing as a “perfect session”. There are fun sessions, relaxed sessions, stress-free sessions and I am often told mine are those things. But I won’t call them perfect because the reality of life (especially life with kids) is that more often than not things are perfectly imperfect.
If you’ve booked me then chances are that you’re looking for a relaxed lifestyle session - something less posed and more natural. But I know there will still be lots of things running through your mind. Will the kids do what they’re told? Will we look silly? How will she make our messy house look nice? But here’s the thing, I’m not aiming for perfection and your home is not a show home. My job is to get the most from your family and to show you that you are wonderful, exactly as you are. I’m not there to check your housekeeping and I have no expectations of your children.
I work with kids a lot, and I’m a mum myself. I consider myself pretty good at helping kids to relax. I’m quick with a fart joke and just as happy to discuss which of Queen Elsa’s dresses and hairstyles is best. So trust in the reason you hired me – to get natural, authentic, beautifully shot photographs of your family.
There will be no saying cheese
On the topic of authenticity - I see lots of children that automatically flash their teeth in a cheesy forced grin whenever a camera is in front of them. It’s totally understandable but it rarely feels genuine in a photograph. So I work hard to put your kids at ease and let them be themselves. I will never force your kids to smile. If we end up with beautiful, natural smiles it will be because it happened organically, not because anyone said cheese. And personally I love a gentle gaze or a pensive thoughtful face just as much as a smile anytime!
Food, drink and a little warning
There are a couple of things you can do to ensure your kids are as relaxed as possible. First, make sure you tell them about the session ahead of time. It’s always best not to spring it on them without warning. Let them know that a friend is coming to take some family pictures and that it will be fun. Make sure that they are rested (even if that means postponing other tiring activities before hand) and that they’ve had plenty to eat and drink. Hangry = stressful. If you want you can incentivise the session by telling them it’s part of a fun day or afternoon, and that you’ll do something cool like have an ice-cream date afterwards. It’s a great idea to bring snacks with you for an outdoor session, but make sure they’re relatively colour and mess free (think popcorn or crackers and cheese, but not chocolate and colourful lollies). Bright red jellybean dribble is not so cool in a photo!
Dads sometimes need prep too
I would be remiss if I don’t mention dads here too. Sometimes dad would rather be anywhere but in front of the lens. That’s ok. Being photographed isn’t everyone’s jam, but I go out of my way to make the session as painless as possible for everyone involved. While I don’t strictly pose my clients I do gently direct you into interactions with your family, so you don’t have to feel like you’re unsure what to do with yourself! I am also forever on the look out for the best and most flattering light so I’ll always point you in the right direction.
What to wear
Finally, to the most frequently asked question, what do we wear? When it comes to wardrobe I recommend that you start with mum and think coordinated, not matchy-matchy. Pick a simple palette of 2-3 colours for everyone to work with – neutrals are always a great start. You can read my post about What to Wear here or if you’re a visual learner, skip right to my Pinterest boards here.
I hope this gives you the confidence to go into your family session feeling relaxed. If there’s anything that still makes you feel insecure why not drop me a line and ask about it?