“The best things in life are the people you love and the memories you make.”
Let’s be honest. Not many family members actually look forward to family photos. Dread and torture are even words I’ve heard used when describing family photos. But it’s important to remind all involved how much the photos will mean over the years to come. Time passes, things change, memories fade but photos never let us forget the way we once were. Preserve the story of your family through professional photos!
Moms, I’m talking to you here. Most all of us want to be at least 10 pounds lighter. The honest truth is if it hasn’t happened in the last 5 years, it’s probably not going to happen any time soon in the future. JUST MAKE THE PHOTO APPOINTMENT, ALREADY! You NEED to be IN photos with your family; if not for yourself, then for your kids and future grandkids.
Dads, dressing nicely & smiling nonstop for 30 minutes for a stranger taking your photos is not necessarily the most fun you can have on a given evening. I get it. But having a happy wife when she displays the photos of her loving family after the photo shoot is worth it, right? Let me help you here…-RIGHT!
As for the kids, no child or teenager is an angel 100% of the time. It’s okay! Kids will be kids. The most important part is that you are capturing their genuine personalities as they are while they grow up.
JUST MAKE THE APPOINTMENT! You won’t regret it. Okay, no more yelling, I promise.
As a professional photographer for the last 11 years, I’ve seen it all. Temper tantrums, bugger pickers, runaway toddlers, frowning teens, grumpy dads, and exasperated moms. Through it all I’ve learned quite a few tips to help make your family photos a painless experience.
DON’T SET YOUR EXPECTATIONS TOO HIGH
Parents have a tendency to want the perfect portrait (which it totally fine) but don’t let the dream of perfection ruin your family photo experience. Not everyone has to be looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. You see genuine love in the interaction with each other, not in the posed, forced-smile photos. Allow yourself to find perfection in the imperfection. The perfectly posed, everyone smiling photos are just a bonus.
BOOK YOU PHOTO SESSION ON A LIGHTLY SCHEDULED DAY
Asking little ones to sit still, smile and behave perfectly after a long, busy day doesn’t usually turn out well. Schedule your photo session on a day when your family can be well rested and prepared. Allow time prior to the session for naps. This applies to anyone in the family, not just the kids. 🙂
MOM, PICK YOUR OUTFIT FIRST
You should feel comfortable and confident in what you wear. The rest of the family’s clothes can be coordinated around your outfit. If you have picky kids or teens, get them involved in choosing their outfits. The will be more willing to cooperate if they are happy with what they are wearing. Dress for the weather. Layers allow for different looks and comfortability. See more tips on coordinating family photo outfits HERE.
PREPARE TO HAVE FUN
If you or your spouse dreads family photos, your kids will pick up on the vibe. Talk to your kids in advance of the session. Tell them it’s going to be fun. Your photographer should also help make it a fun experience. Kids don’t sit still for long in real life. So we can’t expect them to for family photos. Instead of “sit still and smile” continuously for an hour, have fun. Tell jokes. Laugh. Hug. Play. Tickle. Chase. This is your family. Embrace it. Look at your kids. Enjoy them as they are and they will enjoy the process more. True memories are capturing your family having fun. Remember, attitude is contagious.
SPEND TIME BEFORE YOUR SESSION THINKING ABOUT WHAT MAKES YOUR FAMILY SMILE & LAUGH
Incorporate that into your photo session. If your kids respond to music, have songs ready in a playlist on your phone. It’s a proven fact that music improves your mood. Feel free to dance it out, if that’s your thing. Allow yourself to be silly. It will help your kids relax. Ask who has stinky feet. Tell corny jokes. If there is a time to actually WANT dad to fart, this is it. Farts always bring out the genuine smiles.
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
Allow plenty of time to get ready before your photos. It’s hard for everyone to be patient and positive when rushed. Plan out and try on all outfits ahead of time. Make sure everything is clean, ironed and in one place the day before the session.
There is no shame in the photo shoot bribe game. Promise kids, even teens, something special after the session if all goes well. Bribes work on husbands, too. Suggest dad loosen up and have a beer or two before the session. With a little bribery, even dad can make it through in a good mood. Mom, feel free to enjoy a glass of wine, as well.
MAKE SURE NO ONE IS HANGRY
Everyone should come to the photo session with a full stomach. There is nothing worse than a hangry family during a photo shoot. Heck, make it an extra fun evening and go out for pizza before the session and ice cream after. Be prepared and bring non-messy snacks and water for the little ones since their bellies never stay full for long. You can even incorporate snacks into the session. Bring cupcakes, popcorn or lollipops, get ice cream cones and enjoy them while being photographed.
LET YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER TAKE CONTROL
A seasoned photographer will be able to roll with the flow, take what’s thrown at them and still create magical photos. Consider the advice above and then let the photographer take control. Embrace the short attention spans and grass stains that might happen. Life isn’t perfect and every photo doesn’t need to be, either. Let everyone be themselves and the personalities will shine through in your portraits.
FOR MOMS: Now I have a few tips for mom to feel her best during family photos. My goal is to get mom out from behind the camera to in front of it with her family.
TRUST YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
They should be skilled in how to position you in the most flattering ways.
OTHER TIPS TO CONSIDER
*Generally you would angle yourself toward the camera instead of straight on.
*Put your weight on your back leg. This shifts your weight away from the camera.
*Leaving space between your arms and body creates a thinner figure.
*Push your shoulders back and sit up straight but not so much that you look uncomfortable.
*Try not to look down at the camera to avoid a double chin. Think chin out and down toward the camera. Your photographer should shoot straight on or from above, preferably not from an angle below.
*When you apply your make-up for your photos, apply it just a little heavier than usual so it shows up on camera. Don’t skip the lipstick. To avoid shine, use plenty of translucent powder on your face.
*Drink lots of water prior to your session date. Good hydration makes the skin glow.
*If you want to whiten your smile, start treatments about two weeks before your session. Get trays from your dentist or try Crest Whitestrips.
*You’re paying good money for professional photos. Take the time to make yourself feel awesome. Spoil yourself and get your hair blown-out before the session. Treat yourself to a mani/pedi. Even dad could use a good manicure to clean up those hands. Make it a fun date night together the evening before the session.
I hope these tips encourage you to schedule those family photos sooner rather than later. I don’t think anyone ever regretted capturing their family and having those memories to look back on in the years to come.
I have one final thing to help you prepare for your family session. I’ve created a Photo Session Prep Timeline/Checklist. CLICK HERE for a printable checklist.
Ready to schedule your family session? I would love to create those memories for you!