So, you finally decided to invest the hard earned money into beautiful portraits of your family with smiling tidy kids and graciously looking parents – yourselves. The photos and canvases will adorn your tastefully decorated house and will become the subject of envy to all friends and neighbors, while also reminding you how amiable and loving your family is. And there it starts – the self-doubting… What if your 5 year old doesn’t stay still? What if your 7 year old refuses to listen? What are you going to wear? What to bring? How to smile naturally? And the list goes on…
Here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your family portrait session. (I will use this Christmas photoshoot I did at a local Connecticut tree farm, as a guide. I know we are way past Holidays, but on this rainy January day when it’s 54 degrees and pouring cats and dogs, while melting away that sparkling white fluffy rug into dirt, I especially long for the magic Christmas days…).
- You may be tempted to arrive early to give yourself the time to prepare and get used to the place. Don’t. Arrive no more than 5-10 minutes early. Kids get bored too quickly. It’s in your best interest to get them photographed while the novelty of the place and situation hasn’t worn off yet.
- Bring extra clothes for the kids in case if they get messy, especially if you are doing an outdoors photo photoshoot. This one, being a Christmas session, couldn’t go without hot chocolate, which ended up on the girl’s white stockings. Of course, photoshop resolved all problems (thanks Adobe :)), but an extra set of clothes could give you peace of mind.
3. Start the photoshoot with kids photos and then give them a break. Even 20 minutes of concentration and extensive smiling may be hard for younger kids, let alone a full hour. Starting with full family or only kids shots and then letting them go play or otherwise let the steam out, will save you from tantrums and tears. As a bonus, you could get really tender and sweet photos of you as a couple. When was the last time you did that?!
4. Let the kids be kids. I know, the polished family portraits where everybody is smiling and hugging are super cute on the walls and in frames. But natural lifestyle shots that show everybody’s personality and catch the genuine moments of joy, are priceless. And look great in family albums ;).
5. Embrace the reality. Kids will get tired at some point. Yes, even those angelic cuties you see in beautiful family portraits all the time, don’t smile through the whole photoshoot. Don’t let that upset you – make it your asset to create unique portraits.
6. And of course, come to the photoshoot in a good mood! Try to make the preparation as stress free for all members of the family as possible. Your daughter doesn’t want to wear the outfit you so carefully selected for her? Your son insists on getting an ice-cream in exchange for smiles in the photos? Go with it. It’s you and your family that matter most for the photoshoot. No clothes or stains can spoil genuine smiles and laughs that radiate when everybody is happy.
Have fun and stay tuned!