8 Tips for family photo session
Have your outfits chosen in advance and make sure they are comfortable and attractive. There are no "rules" about what to wear for your portraits. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and like yourself. Many families choose matching colors or outfits. That is totally fine, but you can also coordinate the style of the outfits to show each person's individuality. Choose a look that is fun and relaxed, or something more formal. With different outfits, you'll want to choose colors that compliment each other. Pick similar tones and colors that are in the same family. We discourage use of sunglasses before your session as they may leave "impressions" on your face and you are more likely to squint if your eyes are used to a darker environment.
2. Props / Activities
Our most successful family sessions have incorporated an activity that the family loves to do together. This gives you something to do with your hands and feet, engages the little ones, and brings an authentic smile to your face. For infants & toddlers, bring a few of their favorite items that show their personality at this age. Other ideas include: football, musical instruments, books, board games, bike riding, singing, picnics, the ideas are endless. When families are engaged in doing something that they love together, the photographer will have the opportunity to take some beautiful and authentic photographs.
3. Be well rested and well fed
If any children are attending the session, it is important to schedule it around their nap time. Also, don’t show up to a photo shoot on an empty stomach. I meet many families who come to a photo session with lunch/dinner scheduled at the end. If this is your plan, be sure to give everyone a healthy snack before the session.
4. Extra time to get ready
Leave plenty of time for baths, dressing, and grooming. When a family shows up to a family photo session rushed and disorganized, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganized session. Give yourself extra time so that you are ready before it’s time to head out that door.
5. Cheerful Participation
Dads, please cheerfully participate. I know that many dads dread the family photo session, but fathers, please understand how important capturing your family is. These images will be left as a legacy, when your children are grown, with families of their own someday. Family photos are treasured forever and they are so important. Please, please, dads… cheerfully participate in your family photo session. Once you see your happy wife and amazing photographs, you will be so glad that you gave this time to your family.
6. No Cheese
Please leave the “cheese” at home. So many times I have found parents who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese!” Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile will only stress your children out (not to mention the photographer) and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs. Step back, and allow the photographer to naturally interact and talk with your children. This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles. Help your photographer capture the true essence of your child’s personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally and easily.
7. Have Fun
Don’t be afraid to pick up your children and toss them in the air. Give your wife a sweet kiss on the check. Tell your husband how much you love him and appreciate him for being there for your family. Have fun. Laugh. Giggle. Joke. Embrace. Kiss. Snuggle. Play. Doing these things will allow the photographer to capture the emotion and true beauty of your family. Leave the stiff “cheese” faces for Uncle Bob at the next family reunion. Show your photographer who you really are, so that they have the opportunity to capture your love through their lens.
The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other. Understand that not every picture needs to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. If you are engaged as a family and loving on each other, your eyes will be on your family members and your smile will be natural. These are the photographs that you will cherish most because they depict your family connection and your love.