I don’t have enough to do between staying home full time and working on Naptime Tales so I am also a photographer. What can I say…I like to stay busy! 🙂 And this is a VERY busy year for me. I’m so thankful for all my wonderful and easy to work with clients. I’ve been very blessed with getting to know some great families and watch their kids grow.
Last year I got the opportunity to be behind the lens when we did a gender reveal shoot. I had completely forgotten how stressful and hard it is to be on the other side of things, especially when dealing with my own kid! So I decided to come up with a few tips for how you can prepare for your family sessions:
1. Pick the perfect photographer for YOU. What do you want out of your shoot? Do you want everything posed and perfect or candidate and casual? Look over a photographer’s portfolio and/or blog for examples of their work. Select a photographer that seems to match with your style and make sure they are comfortable shooting kids (especially if you have young children). If a photographer specializes in seniors and weddings over family shoots…you may want to find someone that is used to working with kids, will have patience and a bag of tricks.
2. Allow plenty of time to schedule. Depending on where you live, photographers can have busy seasons. When planning your family pictures, keep in mind wedding season (June-October) and senior picture season (June-August). If you live in a region with seasons your photographer will likely be busy when the flowers bloom in spring and when the leaves fall in autumn as well!
3. Select a location and stay flexible with time. Let your photographer help with this and allow for them to use their creativity! It is important to stay as flexible as you can with the timing of your session to allow for the best possible light (typically morning or early evening if you are shooting outside).
4. Go shopping. Selecting clothes for your session can be SO stressful. I like when my clients stay away from matchy matchy clothing and shoot for coordinating pieces. When picking things out- think how your photos will look 5 years from now. Sticking with a neutral base color (think gray, jeans…etc) and then added pops of color with accessories (scarfs, hair bows, ties…) is a great idea. Pinterest is a great way place to find ideas as well!
5. Watch the weather. As it gets close to your session day, keep an eye on the weather and make adjustments to your wardrobe if necessary. Keep in touch with your photographer to make sure you will have the perfect conditions for a shoot. Your photographer may consider rescheduling if it is raining, too windy or too hot/cold. Don’t get frustrated about weather…you want to make sure you have great conditions for great photos!
6. Smile! It’s session day and you are running around like a crazy person. We are all guilty of being short with the kids while getting them ready, arguing about last minute hair styles or what shoes your toddler is willing to wear. Try to relax…your kids can sense fear. If you are calm and collected, your kids will think this is something fun. And it should be!!
7. You are not above bribing. M&Ms work well in this house. As a photographer I want to put candy in my pocket and throw a piece every time I get a good shot but don’t because I don’t want to over step my bounds with parents. So parents- bring candy, suckers, promise ice cream…do whatever you need to in order to keep your kids engaged and happy and SMILING! I let my daughter bring her camera when I take their pictures so she can be a photographer too.
8. Let the photographer do his/her job. I love when clients give me ideas of what they want out of their shoot. It helps me understand what they are looking for in their photos and what their family style is. But keep in mind that you are paying a photographer to also use their creativity. You may be disappointed in your session if it isn’t exactly like that family’s pictures you pinned on Pinterest. This was my attempt at a popular Pinterest pose gone wrong:
I was disappointed my daughter wouldn’t cooperate until I got this:
9. Go with the flow. Let the kids be themselves, be relaxed and have FUN at your session. Your pictures will show if you are ridged and stressed. Don’t worry about how good the pictures are…that’s the photographers job. Your job is to look pretty, smile and keep those M&Ms coming.