We get that a photo session can be stressful, so add in a few littles and we can understand why tears may ensue. We never want you to feel that way when working with us, which is why we put together this helpful list of tips for making a session effortless.
If you’re preparing for a photo session with your children, you may be feeling a bit apprehensive. Children can throw a curveball at plans, and we’ve seen it all! We hope the tips below will definitely come in handy before your upcoming photo session.
If you’re stressed out and cranky, your kids will usually pick up on it and act accordingly! Their behavior will usually be better if you are relaxed and having fun. It’s okay to compromise: let your energetic daughter’s hair stay straight instead of curling it or bring an outfit change so your baby boy can wear his favorite shirt to the session. Focus on the big picture and don’t sweat the small stuff! This session is NOT a big deal. Your real life is.
One great way to do that? Have your session at home. Here’s some advice from Amy, who planned a session with her husband, Thomas, and son, Graham: “I am a big fan of taking pictures at home. Not only does that mean that you don’t have to pack everything up and run the risk of forgetting something, but you will all be a little bit more relaxed, and your child won’t be distracted by being in a new place. The pictures my husband and I have taken with our son at home are some of our favorites because they reflect our real, everyday life — playing the piano together, cuddling on the couch, and reading in the nursery.”
2. Make it fun!
Let the kids have a couple of “fun pictures” where they get to pick their own pose or props. You get to keep the more serious photos while they get to keep their silly photos. This way everyone wins! We are never going to ask your kids to sit perfectly still and hold a pose, but sometimes it helps to turn the photo session into a game. Simon Says or other silly games usually work like a charm!
Roxy, whose beautiful family was one of our favorites to photograph last year, said this:
“Kids, especially small kids, are not made to sit still and be ‘perfect.’ More so, who wants a photo of their kid looking squinty eyed and force ‘cheesing’ so hard that it looks unnatural? That’s what we are training our kids to do from such an early age. It’s cute sometimes, but I’d rather my kids just be themselves. Trust the photographers to get shots of your children in their natural element.”
3. Be prepared.
If you’re going to be out for several hours, ensure that your children are well rested and have had a nap. Bringing some snacks and activities along is also a great idea. If you are having your own photos taken, too, then you might want to bring a babysitter or family member along to watch the kids. If we happen to be photographing in a remote location, you never know when you might need something like bug spray, tissues, or a first aid kit so bring that along, too.
Aruna, who contacted us for a family session with her husband and daughter, Diya (below), said the following:“Plan, plan, plan. Prepare days in advance. Communicate with your spouse that a photoshoot is coming up and go over colors for your outfits. Mark your calendars. Decide what clothes you all will be wearing, jewelry and shoes included. Planning reduces uncertainty and anxiety. Be prepared for the unexpected! Then just show up in your very best, smiley and confident!” You know your crew better than we do — do what is right for them and you’ll have a much better experience!
Another great way to make sure you feel confident and prepared is to make sure that you look confident and prepared! Amy said, “I recommend having your hair and makeup done professionally. If you are going to invest money in a professional photography session, you should look and feel your best. Everyday makeup does not come across in pictures, and professional artists and stylists know what photographs well.”
4. Talk it out.
Get your children talking to both you and the photographer about topics such as school or their favorite songs. This allows your littles to feel more comfortable around your photographer and will also give your photographer a chance to capture a few candid and cute expressions! We love Roxy’s tips on this: “Talk to your family during your session. This will take the pressure off of everyone, and your photographer can get more natural photos of you enjoying your family. Feel free to help make them laugh and smile by making fart noises, telling jokes, talking about their favorite things.” Aren’t those the photos that you’ll love the most? We know we do! In the photo below, Roxy handed us her phone to play the family’s favorite Taylor Swift song while they danced. Those are the types of memories we love capturing!
5. Patience is a virtue.
Save your sanity by trying not to control the photo session too much. Sometimes the best photos come from kids just doing their own thing! This is why we employ a lifestyle approach to photos and do not work in studios or forced settings. Our favorite locations to work in for family photos are places where your littles feel comfortable, like their own home! Work with your photographer to discuss what you want from your photos and the best places or other ideas to make sure that happens and your photos will look fantastic!
Roxy said, “Please don’t feel the need to go buy everyone brand new everything. You can if you want to, but it’s not necessary. Coordinating clothes are fun, super matchy clothes are not realistic. I want my family photos to be a representation of our true selves … just maybe a little cleaner. Tell your kids you are going to go play together, and there will be a friend of yours there taking photos. Encourage them to interact with the photographer. Bring snacks! Hide cookies in your pocket. Above all just be glad, no matter the outcome, that you have captured this season of life in your family, because it’s all important and fleeting. Even the messy and difficult parts.”
Have other great tips for making sure a session goes really well? Leave us a comment below to let us know! If you need help planning outfits for your session, we’ve got it covered. We have tips here!