5 Tips for a Happier Family Portrait Session


It’s that time of year, all the photographers are posting about mini sessions, moms everywhere lament the trials of choosing complementary outfits for their entire family. I get it, I don’t know of anyone besides myself who actual thinks “sweet, family photo time!”, so here are a few tips for happier experience, perhaps even a fun one.
1.      Make sure all Adults are on board
               Let’s be honest here, 90% of the time it’s Mom who schedules a photo session and Dad (and older kids) is usually just along for the ride and not as invested in the images. Here’s the deal, as the photographer I am all prepared to make all the ridiculous noises and faces to get your little ones to smile during the session. Unfortunately, Dad does not find said noises and faces nearly as amusing, so if he isn’t on board before he comes to the session, he won’t be at the session. So, talk before the session, discuss how important it is (to you), how much fun it can be, and that it’s only an hour out of his day.
See the little grump up top? Totally cute, he can pull it off. The adults? Not so much.
2.      Dress comfortably
               You’ve pick outfits that looks great but you feel totally awkward in, maybe it’s the fit or the fabric or the temperature; that “great look” will be overshadowed by how uncomfortable you are. So pick something that balances the two. Maybe let your kids have a hand in what they wear—the more involved they can feel the better. And if you’re taking photos in the fall or winter and the weather is unpredictable (hello Texas), choose outfits you can layer: scarves, hats, nice jackets and coats.
3.      Expect your kids to be on their worst behavior
The offspring of yours truly
               Photo sessions are weird. Some stranger shows up with this big black thing, they keep telling you where to stand and how to sit, make weird faces and noises with that black thing over their face. It’s a strange situation unless your kids are used to a camera being stuck in their face all the time, so cut your kids some slack and expect them to behavior less than angelic—trust me, it’ll will help everyone’s mood in the long run.
4.      Let the kids lead
               The little ones want to peek out from a tree? Check out some flowers? Just roll with it and follow your photographer’s lead—who is hopefully following your kids’ because working with the kiddos will make the session much smoother than working against them.
One of my favorites
5.      Talk to your photographer
               Tell them ahead of the session if you plan on bringing any rewards for the kids or have a surprise for after the session. I’ve had parents promise the kids ice cream when it’s over, brought special toys to use in the photos, or even gave me candy to keep during the session and give out when I wanted. Taking pictures for Christmas and you do Santa Claus with your kids? Great, now I can ask them all about their Christmas lists. Favorite show? They love dinosaurs? Sweet, now I can ask them questions and capture their lit-up expressions in your photos.
6.      Bonus! Use Props


               Consider including fun props in your photos to engage your kids, such as bubbles, balloons, decorating a Christmas tree. The possibilities are endless.

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