It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The time where you spend hours planning and prepping for your family photo session so that you can nail that holiday card. 2017 is going to be YOUR year. You feel it.
You’ll spending hours online shopping in hopes of picking the perfect outfits — only to have your kids, husband, dog (and certainly your in-laws) inevitably complain about your selections. You’ll show up to your session a few minutes late, slightly frazzled, and beyond annoyed when one of your kids decides it’s time to throw down in an epic tantrum.
3 Tips for Surviving Your Family Photo Session
I can just feel your holiday cheer seeping out of your pores!
Here’s my honest-to-pete advice.
Step 1: Breathe.
Step 2: Roll with it.
Everything will be fine. Repeat. Everything will be fine.
Instead of being annoyed/caught off guard/disappointed when these things happen, I always tell my clients to expect a few things to go wrong. I’m not all “expect the worst, hope for the best” mentality — but in the reality of photography – things will most definitely go wrong, and as the professional, I say we just roll with it!
Now, we don’t have to throw all planning aside and just freestyle the whole thing. If you know anything about me, you know I’m a planner, so I thought I’d share my top 3 tips that will *hopefully* make for a painless experience when it comes time for your family shoot!
#1 – Be mindful when it comes to booking your session time.
Professional photographers always want to capture the best light. Unfortunately, that often interferes with your kids’ schedule. Try not to book your session too close to the start/end of your child’s natural nap time. Same goes for mealtime. If your scheduled session time is usually when your toddler is eating dinner – make sure you compensate for a very early dinner (before you get that cute outfit on) or a heavy snack. Heck, bring a lunch box so that your babe can eat on site right when we finish! If you’re working with me, make sure you let me know if a suggested time totally wrecks your normal schedule. I try to be as flexible as possible, while also trying to ensure you end up with the best photos (and light) possible.
Bonus Tip: Don’t squeeze your family session into an already jam-packed day on your calendar. If your session is after morning soccer and an afternoon birthday party, your kid(s) will most likely be whipped and not want to (happily) participate.
#2 – Make the shoot more comfortable by bringing items from home your kid(s) know and love.
Today’s family sessions are less about proper poses and everyone looking at the camera with a perfect smile. It’s about being comfortable, relaxed — about being YOU. Does your family love to play soccer outside together? Bring a ball. Does your baby have a favorite stuffed lovey? It’s ok if it makes it into the photos, too!
If you’d rather not incorporate items from home into your photos (I get it) maybe put a lot of thought into where we hold your session. Does your family have a favorite park or trail? The familiarity of that place might help ease any nerves about the shoot. Are your kids adventurous — maybe heading to a new spot where they can explore while I snap photos is the best solution.
#3 – Remember that, whatever happens at your shoot, all will be ok!
Ok, this might seem like a repeat of my advice at the top of this blog, but it’s THAT important I need to touch on it again. It’s critical for you to know that your kids crying/being shy/tantruming/refusing to smile does not bother me at all…..especially now that I’m a parent myself. Whatever happens, however your kids act, we’re going to get sweet photos of them. And we’ll most definitely get some laughs.
Honestly, when family sessions go off the rails, it can produce some of the best photographs. You’d be surprised!
So, there you have it, some heartfelt and honest advice from a professional as you approach your fall or winter family session! Have other tips – or maybe a funny story about your past sessions? Share in the comments below!