6 Tips for a Successful Family Session

March 25, 2015

So, you've taken the plunge! You have made the wise decision to hire a photographer to capture some stunning images of your family. You have booked the session, paid the retainer, and you are anxiously waiting for the session date to arrive. Here are 5 tips to help your photographer provide you with the best possible experience during  your family session:

1. Talk with your kiddos about the session.

I know - it seems so simple! But chatting with your kids and sharing your excitement with them will do WONDERS for your photographer. Prepare them with what to expect; talk about how much fun they will have with the photographer; let them help you pick out the wardrobe. The idea is to simply get your little ones excited for this session. If your kids are excited for this session, rather than dreading the session, they are far more likely to cooperate when we ask them to pose with you.

2. Make sure that your littles are well fed and well rested.

I am about to admit one of my own character flaws to you - when I am tired or hungry, I have zero patience. Seriously, ask my husband. I am willing to bet that your kids feel the same way. Family sessions have a better chance of running beautifully when the kiddos are feeling good!

3. Allot plenty of time for travel.

Rushing is stressful, and beginning a family session with residual stress is not fun. We all know that when mom is stressed, so is the rest of the family! An easy way to avoid this stress is to set aside plenty of time to get ready and for travel. 

4. Don't worry about making your kids sit still and smile at the camera.

Here is a typical conversation that I often hear from parents during their session: "Honey, sit here. Okay, turn around and smile at the camera. Smile! Say Cheese! Are you looking at the camera? Don't forget to smile!" ... Here's the issue - while parents are giving directions, they themselves often forget to look at the camera and smile. If you are dying for that perfect shot (which, in my opinion, is a little stuffy), then keep your eyes locked on the camera and smiling. Let the photographer interact with your children, and you will most likely be infinitely more pleased with the results. Or, you could ditch the stereotype for the "perfect shot" all together and end up with something like this:

5. Be mindful of what you wear.

The most important question to answer when you make your wardrobe choices is, "Is this comfortable?" Don't misunderstand - it is best to coordinate colors and styles, but comfort is king. If a member of your family is uncomfortable, his/her discomfort will glare at you through the photos. Another helpful tip: make sure that your wardrobe choices don't clash with your home decor. You will, most likely, want to display these photos in your home for a very long time. It is wise to ensure that your clothes complement the things in your home.

6. Ditch the rewards system.

Please know that in no way am I critiquing a parenting method. This has nothing to do with parenting. In my experience, offering rewards to kids for good behavior during the session has not been very helpful. Let's use cookies as an example. Susie says to her daughter, "If you are good during this photography session, you'll get some cookies when you get home!" Susie's daughter now views the photographer as the person standing between her and cookies, and she no longer wants to cooperate with the photographer. No bueno. My suggested method is to simply keep the session fun and inviting. Bring along toys for the kids to play with, interact with each other as you normally do, get in tickle fights, blow bubbles. You will love the yummy candids!

Did you find this post helpful? Leave me some love in the comments section below, or hop on over to the Contact page so that we can chat!


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