I think one of the most often things parents are worried about when they set up a family photo session with me is how will the kids behave. I don’t have kids, but I get it. Parents are investing money into a very specific period of time to capture their kids and family as they ideally are on a daily basis. And kids are unpredictable… haha oh are they unpredictable! I have ten tips for family photos so that you can make the most of your session and make sure you get the best possible pictures to remember your little ones by for that day when they’ve grown taller than you.
1. I suggest a fun family activity that your kids will enjoy.
You may recognize this family, this is Ben’s brother’s family. I love being able to capture my nieces and nephews, but just because I’m their aunt doesn’t mean that they’re going to behave perfectly. 🙂 I know that my niece and nephew do better with things to do and actions rather than standing still and smiling for pictures. So we planned a Fall activities family session! We went to Frecon Farm’s apple orchard where we picked apples and there was pumpkin picking.
2. Plan the session around your child’s day.
I always ask what time of day is your kid in the best mood? It tends to be in the morning or after a certain nap so that’s the time of day to aim for a photo session. If they’re happy you’ll be happy.
3. Try to plan outfits, naps, food and anything else you can think of ahead of time to make your kiddos happy.
Is your child uncomfortable in a certain outfit, even if you love it? The photo session isn’t the day to put them in it. Do your kids normally fall asleep in the car and are then cranky? Don’t let them fall asleep on the way to the session! Are your kids normally happier after a little snack? Give it to them on the way to the session (Unless they get car sick!).
4. This leads me to the fourth tip of my tips for family photos, if you can, dress your kids when you get to the session location.
I’ve even had parents bring a couple different clothing options and ask my opinion. (My sister-in-law brought a couple of options so I could help her what worked best since we were doing 2 locations.) I’d love to help coordinate your outfits too! In fact, I send an email before sessions with clothing suggestions. But somehow it always seems like kids get something on them when they’re in their carseats (especially if you give them a snack) or at the minimal their clothes get wrinkled. I suggest trying to arrive a couple minutes early to the session to make sure everyone gets dressed and is looking their best!
I can take kids being crazy, in fact I encourage running, saying funny words and jokes! You may feel like it’s getting out of control, but if it makes your child laugh, then I’m going to use it! I usually bring my husband with me (who all the kids seem to like for some reason) and we have a bunch of things up our sleeves to get kids to laugh, be themselves and also focus and look at the camera at times. I’d rather your kids seem out of control and having fun (my camera lets me take pictures fast) then sad or crying. Although, even pouty faces and crying are adorable to capture!
6. I am not against bribery!
This isn’t something that happens every day so if you need to bribe your child and even remind them throughout the session then go for it! I’ve heard parents promise a certain toy or snack, even to take them somewhere special after. I always encourage parents bring some sort of snack for toddlers like Puffs to get their attention and keep them content.
I had Olivia’s birthday gift for her after the photo session so you better believe I used that to get her attention at times!
7. We always have to think of the photo session’s location and that it’s kid approved/friendly, but a new twist is to make sure that we’re able to social distance. Ben and I still wear masks and I shoot with lenses that allow me to be further away which makes social distancing easier and keeps your family safe. I am now always aware during sessions how close other people are to us and will definitely move to another area if necessary. I want pictures of smiling faces, not masks!
We went to the apple orchard earlier in the morning when it would be less busy so that it was safe for them to not wear masks when we had our own row of apple trees to ourselves. Once we went to the second location, Green Lane Park, we had more space to stay away from other people. They brought their masks to wear when we were in the parking lots, but other than that, they didn’t need to wear masks.
8. Think about what time of year your kids are most comfortable in the weather.
In general a good time to photograph pictures in the northeast is the end of April through October. The time of year will dictate what you wear and you want your kids to be comfortable. Some kids, usually the older kids, can handle chillier weather, but a newborn or baby doesn’t do well in the cold weather! And while some kids can take warmer weather, other children (or parents lol) literally melt and have tantrums in hot weather.
9. I automatically take a mix of posed and natural pictures. However, if you prefer one over the other make sure to let me know!
My sister-in-law prefers more natural, non-posed pictures so I gave them more actions to do during their session then just posed, looking and smiling at the camera. (Below: Posed on the left and more natural on the right. On the right I told them to give each other a hug and look at each other, not the camera.)
10. This might be the most important tips of my tips for family photos. Enjoy the photo session yourself!
Kids can tell how their parents are feeling and it can reflect in their actions. If your kids see you laughing, enjoying your time with them and even being goofy, then they’ll relax and enjoy it with you. The photo session can actually end up being a fun family time together!
I hope these tips for family photos gave you some ideas for your next session! Feel free to contact me if you’d be interested in doing a family session in the spring!
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