Family photos. Something that most people want to have, but don’t always want to do. I’m very aware that most people don’t look forward to their sessions as much as I do. Why is that? I think parents often stress about everything going exactly as planned, but striving for perfection isn’t always the answer. The more families I photograph, the more I’ve come to realize how to get the most out of your session, so I’ve decided to provide you with a quick cheat sheet to help you feel prepared! Getting that perfect shot is the goal right? My favorite images are the ones that are perfectly IMPERFECT, and actually these can be the easiest shots to get, especially when the client comes to their appointment knowing what to expect and feeling prepared. So here’s my 8 quick tips for perfectly imperfect family photos. Follow these tips and I think you will find that your family session wasn’t an experience that was chaotic and stressful, but one that was fun– an experience that leaves you with memories to last a lifetime. Your photos will be a reminder of this time you shared together, the imperfect moments will create the perfect photos for you to cherish forever!
PREP THE KIDS.
Prepare your little ones by letting them know a friend will be taking their picture. I have found it’s better to keep them informed rather than springing the session on them as a surprise. It’s also important to prepare your little ones by making sure they are well rested. The day of your session isn’t the day you should be skipping nap time! A well rested child is a happier one!
Before leaving for your session make sure that you and your family have eaten something so that you won’t be hungry during the shoot. This will give you more energy and keeps you more focused on the session. It’s never a bad idea to bring snacks, especially for sessions that involve children. With that said, avoid drinks or food that are colored or messy so we don’t have to deal with stained lips, teeth or clothes!
DON’T MATCH, COORDINATE.
Coordinating your outfits shows that you are a group, a family. It helps when your outfits compliment each other in a way that makes you look like you belong together. Think compliment, not match. Instead of picking out outfits that all match perfectly, think more about matching the style of clothing. I.e. If you are going for a formal look, make sure everyone is looking sharp! If you are going for a more natural, relaxed and casual look, make sure everyone’s outfit in the group reflects that. We want colors that compliment each other. Have a color scheme in mind when choosing what to wear! Lay out all of your outfits together before your photo session, if they look good lying together on your bed— they will look good the day of!
LET YOUR KIDS BE KIDS.
Don’t stress. If your kids are apprehensive about the shoot, nervous or even acting a little wild… it’s okay! My previous work as a school counselor gave me as much patience as the day is long, so let the kids be kids. We’re focusing on moments, rather than pushing your shy one to come out of their shell give them a few extra snuggles during the shoot. If your wild child needs a little extra time to run free like the wild child they are, we’ll give them just that. Your mood can either make a kiddo more anxious or help them feel relaxed and safe–so relax, let the kids be kids.
MOMENTS OVER POSES.
After we get the posed shots out of the way, you aren’t required to constantly look at the camera anymore. This doesn’t mean you can’t of course, but don’t be afraid to focus more on each other during part of the shoot rather than on the photographer.
Photos that depict you engaging with each other illustrate your love and connection as a family. Try to be in constant contact with each other. Whether it be a simple hand on the shoulder or a hug that leads to a snuggle, them more you are in contact with each other the easier it will be to capture the love between those in your family.
CHEESE IS FOR CRACKERS.
Leave the cheese at home! Persistently demanding young children to look at the camera and smile can sometimes stress your children out and lead to strained, unnatural looking photos. Take a step back and relax, allow me to take the reins so that you can enjoy the moment and the company of your family.
It’s so important that you and your family enjoy this experience because it will show in your photos. Relax and enjoy each others company!