As both a mom, and a photographer myself, i’ve dealt with my fair share of family photos. Both my own, as well as my clients. In fact, we just had our family photos done a few weeks ago!
Because of that, I know firsthand how stressful getting them done can be, especially with smaller children. And the last thing you want on a day where you’re supposed to be capturing beautiful memories is stress!
With that in mind, i’ve decided to make a post about my tips for making sure your family photos are successful.
Don’t get me wrong, my kids never fully cooperate. I mean they’re little, and they get overwhelmed. It’s normal. And it’s going to happen.
But the following tips will at least help things to run a little smoother, and keep your stress level a little lower. Which will ultimately make your photos a good experience that you’ll be happy to look back on!
1. Have a clear idea of what you want
First and foremost. Make sure you know what you want out of these photos. Gather up some ideas and inspiration for them. Think about the style you’re going for, and your expectations for them. All the tips going forward will be easier once you have at least a clear general idea in your head.
With that being said, throughout the process keep in mind that your inspiration should be just that-inspiration. Remember not to focus too much on the photos turning out exactly how you envisioned them. It’s good to be flexible and have your photos be unique to you and your family.
2. Choose your photographer carefully
Make sure you choose a photographer wisely. Ask yourself some questions..
– Does this photographer’s style match what I am going for?
– Does this photographer have experience working with young kids?
– Do the packages this photographer offer match my budget?
These are just a few examples, but the point is, do some research and make sure you are choosing a photographer that fits your needs and wants!
With that being said, once you choose a photographer: COMMUNICATE WITH THEM! Share with your photographer your ideas. Make sure you are on the same page.
(While you’re discussing your session and your vision with your photographer, also remember to trust them. If you chose a good photographer and they say that something isn’t do-able or maybe they have another recommendation, it’s most likely because they truly believe it will be better. Keep in mind that they have the same goal as you: To make these photos amazing!)
3. Choose a convenient time
Your photographer can help you with deciding on a good time as far as lighting. But you also need to take serious consideration into nap times, feeding times, etc.. Think about your specific families needs and work around them.
You want to make sure you aren’t showing up with a hungry, sleepy infant. Trust me, I’ve been there and it makes the experience way more stressful! Work around these things and I promise it will be worth it.
*Pro tip: If you’re doing dinner afterwards (We always go out to eat after photos) then maybe have a snack beforehand! You don’t want to go on a complete empty belly and risk ANYONE being hangry!
3. Choose your clothing
First things first: Think about the weather and the style you are going for. If it’s cold, don’t sacrifice warmth just to look cute. There are plenty of cute weather appropriate outfits out there!
Once you have an idea in your head, remember that you want to COORDINATE outfits. A good tip to doing that is to start with one person. Your base outfit.
So maybe start with yourself! Remember the location you chose and the style you’re going for and choose your own outfit from there. Once you choose yours, and you see the colors/patterns in your head that you’re going for, plan your families outfits around it.
(EXAMPLE: For the outfits my family wore for Thanksgiving, my base outfit was Grants (my 4 year olds) outfit. He had a button up with maroon, navy, and mustard. So our family based our outfits around that color scheme. We didn’t “match” we coordinated. Our outfits all complemented each other, sticking to that color scheme without clashing)
Another outfit tip: make sure to keep your outfits comfortable for you. You don’t want to feel uncomfortable in what you’re wearing, because I can assure you it will show on camera.
(*I’ll be writing an individual post with more info and ideas on what to wear for family photos. Keep an eye out for it*)
4. Dress younger kids &/or baby AT the photoshoot
Whether its spilling a drink in the car, a diaper blowout as soon as you get there, spitup, or just plain dirt from running around- it’s risky business.
To avoid accidents that could ruin the outfits you’ve worked so hard to choose, put baby (or younger kiddos, even) in something comfy, and bring their outfits to the photoshoot, changing them right before the photos begin!
5. Give yourself time the day-of to get ready!
I probably should’ve added this earlier on in the list. But when choosing a date, make sure you don’t have to be rushed. You don’t want to get off work, rush home only to have 20 minutes to get ready before having to leave for your session.
That’s gonna stress everybody out.
Make sure you choose a date that allows you to have time to get ready. The less rushed you are, the less stressed you are. Which will help make for a much happier experienced.
6. KEEP SMILING.
Candids are ok, too!
First of all: CANDID PHOTOS ARE GREAT PHOTOS! Don’t stress about everyone looking at the camera at the exact same time. Some of the best photos are candids.
With that being said, don’t stop smiling. Even when you aren’t looking at the camera. In between shots are some of the best.
Imagine this: Your child isn’t paying attention. You’re frowning at him, asking him to pay attention. Finally, he smiles at the camera quickly, laughing at a bird that flew by, if only for a second. (While the photographer is clicking away) only to have the final image be of your child laughing with you frowning in the background because you missed the moment. Wouldn’t that have been a great shot if you were smiling?
Even in the quickest moments, a good photographer will get great shots. KEEP. SMILING. THROUGH. IT!
7. HAVE FUN!
The biggest tip I can give is to just have fun and trust the process! Try not to stress, because it will show. Instead, have a good time!
We’ve had photos done in the past that look beautiful. They are posed and we look great, but the memories I associate with them are stressful.
We’ve had photos done in the past that are beautiful in a different way, too. Not every single photo was a “winner” (although we did get great ones, too) But guess what? I love them even more. Because we had fun, and let go of all the stresses. And those are the photos I truly cherish.