It is that time of the year again. Time to get family portraits taken. All too often this can be a stressful and daunting task for a mom. As mamas we long to have beautiful images of our families that truly capture who we are as a unit. We want our outfits to look great, our kids to be in good moods, and our husbands to be supportive and enthusiastic. Seriously, a lot of work goes into these pictures and at times it can be overwhelming. Well, my job as a photographer is to take that stress from you and throw it out the window! I want my clients to feel relaxed and comfortable the minute they arrive at their session. I do all that I can do make that happen. And I hope that all good family and portrait photographers would do the same.
But what can us moms do to ensure that our family session will go smoothly? Several things actually. I have created a list of 5 Things Every Mom Should Do Before Their Family Portrait Session that answers just that. If you do all five of these things then you are more likely to enjoy the experience of having your family portraits taken AND get amazing images that you will love.
Five Things Every Mom Should Do Before Their Family Portrait Session
1. Find the Right Photographer for You
It is super important that you find a photographer that is right for you and the vision you have for your family portraits. It doesn’t matter if your best friend highly recommends Holly Bolly Photography (a fictitious photographer). If Holly’s website is full of traditionally posed photos and you desire a more candid, whimsical feel, then Holly is not the photographer for you. Same holds true for what type of photography they specialize in. If you have young children then you probably don’t want to hire a photographer who specializes in high fashion wedding photography. You want a photographer who specializes in child and family photography and is comfortable with kids. You don’t go to your family doctor when you have a broken leg. You see an Orthopedic who specializes in exactly the type of care you need. Why not do the same thing when choosing a photographer? Hiring the right photographer makes the entire process go more smoothly from the start. If you take the time to do this you are less likely to have unmet expectations and images that you do not care for.
2. Talk with Your Photographer Before the Session
Whether its by email, Skype, a questionnaire, or a phone call, it is super important to talk to your photographer before the session. Some things you want to address may include your expectations or vision for your session, special props you would like to include, little tips and tricks that may make your kids feel more comfortable, or any questions you might have. The more your photographer knows in advance about what you are wanting the better. Now, there does come a point when you have to let go and trust in your photographer’s skills and abilities. But it does not hurt to communicate your ideas and expectations first. How will your photographer ever know that you hate kissing pictures unless you tell them?
3. Select a Time for Your Shoot that is Best for Your Kids
Now, as a photographer I have two times of the day that I prefer to shoot: early mornings and sunset. But as much as I am obsessed with great light I’d prefer a happy family over fabulous light any day of the week. It does clients no good to have lovely lit photos of children crying hysterically because we did their session during nap time. If your kids are ok with getting up early, then by all means do your session as early as possible. But if the start time of your shoot is going to be the demise of your session it is best to ask your photographer for another time slot. Here are a things to consider when selecting the time of your session: will the time interfere with nap or bedtime, is the session during a time when the kids will be hungry, will it be super hot during the scheduled time? Talk to your photographer and remember to consider these things when booking the time your session will start. Also, make sure to ask how long the session will take. You want happy children during your entire photo shoot and your photographer should too.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Breaks During the Session
There is nothing more stressful then when your kids are crying or fussing and you want them to be all smiles. Trying to force your children to smile or have fun does not always work. Sometimes the kiddos just need a break. And that’s fine. Feel free to ask your photographer if you can have five minutes of downtime. Let the kids play, have a snack, and just be kids without the pressure of the camera in their face. You have permission to do this. And you will be so glad you did.
Kids can feel stress. All moms know this. But we quickly forget because we are so focused on getting the perfect family portrait. Remember, if you want that perfect image it is so important that on the day of the shoot that both parents are calm and comfortable. Easier said than done, right? It is not easy getting four kids up at 6:30 am, fed, and dressed all while making sure both you and your husband look good as well. But once you arrive at your session try super hard to let it all go and just enjoy your shoot. It is now your photographers job to carry that stress for you and produce awesome images that you will adore. It is your job to just enjoy your family and the experience of creating timeless memories.
I hope you find this tips helpful and that your next family portrait session is a blast. I’d love to know which tip you think is the most helpful. Please comment below to let know which tip you like best or if you have more tips that you think moms should know before their family portrait session.
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