Your Guide to Stress-Free and Beautiful Family Photos

September 16, 2020

It’s that time again! You’ve been here before… you recently bought the most adorable, coordinated outfits for your family and are anxiously waiting for your family portrait session. Yay!

Then, all of a sudden those dreaded thoughts creep into your head…

“Will Ben be cranky because he’s teething?”

“I just know Addison is going to spill juice on her brand new cream-colored top!”

“Are my kids going to cooperate?”

So you panic and think about bribing or even threatening no *this* or *that* if they don’t smile big or behave.

We totally get it! We have little ones ranging in ages from teething babies to mouthy preteens. We’ve been in your shoes a million times over with our own families. And, if there’s anything we’ve learned through our years of parenting and photographing countless families, it’s this…

Don’t let stress take control. Stress shows. And here’s the thing, it’s only stressful if you make it stressful.

We cannot tell you how many times we have gotten upset at our own kids during photos. But every time, we kick ourselves because as you scroll through the final gallery, it leaves a sour taste in your mouth and a feeling of solemness instead of happiness.

We knew EXACTLY what transpired the moment that photo was taken — we weren’t having fun! Instead, we were stern, upset, and stressed. And guess what? Our kids FELT the pressure of us trying to make them look “perfect” instead of them experiencing the joy of just being a child.

So here are our tips from one parent to another for getting the sweet photos you can’t wait to hang on your wall.

Build Up Some Hype

Instead of saying: “we’re getting professional photos taken”. Try: “we’re going to meet a new, fun friend!” If kids think they’re going to do something boring and “professional”, they’ll come with a less than thrilled attitude. Tell them the family is going on a little adventure to take some fun photos where they can be goofy and run around and play.

The amazing thing about digital photography is we can snap away and get some really sweet candid photos.

Let Them Have Some Fun

Once you arrive at the session, we take a little bit of time to get to know your kids. We don’t need to go straight into stiff poses. Let your children run around. Let them pick up sticks or flowers. Throw them up in the air. Twirl in circles. We will keep snapping, and when the timing feels right, we will ask everyone to pose and smile.

We play kid-friendly music so they can dance and sing to some of their favorite tunes (baby shark is a fan fav). We send you a short questionnaire to fill out, requesting you to provide us with some fun facts to get to know your family better, along with your kid’s favorite songs.

When kids are relaxed and having fun, they’re more likely to pose for a few smiling photos. Not to mention, we call ourselves lifestyle photographers, which means we love capturing your family just as you are… doing the things that make you smile. 

Yes, BRIBE THEM!

It works! Bring fruit snacks or candy. Tell them they can have a special treat if they pose for a few photos. Or better yet, make the entire day special. After the session, do something fun as a family… go mini golfing, let your children pick their favorite restaurant to eat at, or go get ice cream. Talk up the day and make it into something they’ll be really excited about.

Come Prepared

If there are things you know will stress you out, just try your best to be prepared for that. So if you’re worried about little Addison spilling juice on her shirt, don’t put her shirt on until you get to the session. If your sweet chubby monkey is prone to blow outs (been there), bring a spare outfit just in case. Bring snacks so no one is hungry and try to work the session around nap times so you have well-rested children.

We like to start your session first thing in the morning or in the afternoon about an hour before the sun goes down. These times provide us with the perfect lighting, and typically don’t interfere with napping schedules.

If you have young toddlers, bring a bag full of musical and light-up toys, their favorite stuffed animal, a pacifier, or a sippy cup of their favorite drink. No joke, at one of our family sessions, the only thing that got the family’s baby to smile was putting a (clean) diaper wipe on my head and throwing it in the air! We will do just about anything for a smile. 😜

Bubbles are great too! They are a wonderful distraction and children have a blast with them. 

Most Importantly, Embrace It

This is your life right now. Whether that’s a cranky baby who won’t sleep or a child you’re sending off to college. This. Is. Life. And it’s beautiful! No matter what, you’ll be so glad you documented this phase in your life.

Now, let’s talk about the next big conundrum…

What should you wear?

Here are some wardrobe tips:

  • Don’t try to match. Rather, pick outfits and accessories that coordinate and complement each other.
  • Don’t be afraid to be bold with scarves, necklaces, flowy dresses, and fun shoes.
  • Phones, keys, and wallets should be emptied from your pockets.
  • Patterns are fine to wear but just make sure it’s not too overwhelming.
  • Stay away from printed graphics or logos.
  • Please bring a blanket! We love to get sitting down photos.

If you have any questions at all before your session, we’re here! Yes, family photos can be stressful. But years from now, you’ll look back on these photos and miss this hectic, beautiful, amazing chapter of your life. ❤️

We can’t wait to capture your beautiful family!

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