How to prepare for your family session

I’m not sure why, but preparing for a family session can be super stressful. We have high expectations for our photos to be perfect. But, is your family perfect? Mine certainly isn’t. My husband usually would be wearing a flat smile on his face and my youngest would not be cooperating at all. I often had to swap their heads all the time. I don’t anymore.

What’s different?

I stopped stressing and stressing my family. They were never excited about taking their photos because I was grumpy when the girls would mess up their hair before we even left the house, upset because my husband chose a wrinkly shirt or furious at everyone because we were going to be late again. My approach had to change.

How I do things now.

I ask for family photos once a year. That’s it! It usually is around the holidays for our Christmas cards. I often tell my kids that it’s a gift for Mommy and they love helping me choose the template for our card. Also, I include everyone in the process and we make it fun. Choosing our clothes, our hair style and the location is discussed and not forced upon them. Also, we talk about it a couple weeks before so it isn’t a surprise.

Things to consider.

When it comes to my family, I know their limits. I will set up a timer for 15 minutes and once it rings, we are done. Also, I always start with the group photos when they are still interested and listening. Afterwards, we move on to siblings, Mom and Dad and finally individual ones for each kid. And yes, I get it all in 15 minutes.

My approach is very similar on photoshoot days with my clients.

5 tips to consider.

Once your session is booked, clothes selected, location set, here are 5 tips to help on your family session:

  • Bring snacks and water for breaks

  • Bring a favorite toy

  • Bring a comb

  • Make it fun and offer a reward for everyone after

  • Don’t worry about your kids smiling, we are aiming for natural photos

Lastly, don't forget...

Have fun! You are spending quality time with your family and it will be fun. If they cry, it’s okay! I will place them in a position where we won’t see it. If they are done after 10 minutes. It’s okay! I shoot really fast. Often I have all the pics I want within the first 10 minutes. The rest of the session can be used to play games and have tickle fights. How many photos will you really print? 100? No way! Probably 3 to 5. How many will you post on your social media? Probably 3-5 as well. So stop stressing yourself out and let me make your family shine. You will be pleasantly surprised!


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