I talk to moms all the time who stress out about their family photo session. You’re paying good money for a session and it would feel like such a waste if your kids were wild and uncooperative, or if your photographer didn’t do the job you had hoped they would.
I hear you.
You want to look and feel like yourself but you also want to make sure everyone’s got snot-free noses and there aren’t any Chandler Bing smiles hanging around. You know choosing a photographer is half the battle but what about what comes before and during the session? I see women everywhere, especially mamas, put SO much pressure on themselves and it makes me so sad. I’m sharing some tips for letting go of unrealistic expectations and just having fun with your kiddos in the name of getting some great family photos.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
1. Don’t stress
Easier said than done, right? I know you’re chuckling as you read that. But we all know that the more chill we are, the more likely it is our children (and husband!) will be chill. Your kids can feel your nervous or stressed energy which will make them nervous and stress. The more laidback and flexible you can be, the better the photos turn out. So take a deep breathe and know that if your kiddo is being cranky, you can always grab him and throw him in the air to make him giggle. The photographer will love it, trust me!
2. Set reasonable expectations
Don’t worry about getting THE perfect Pinterest-worthy shot where everyone is looking and smiling happily at the camera. We’ll try as hard as we can to grab that photo but also know that some of the best photos show interaction and candidness in your family. All you need is one good “everyone looking and smiling” photo anyway.
Also know that the session will likely be stressful in some way. If you’re prepared for your children to be themselves, you won’t get as mad when they won’t stop sticking their tongues out at the photographer. If you can embrace the chaos and try not stress (see tip #1), it’ll be better for everyone.
3. Do your research on photographers
I wrote an entire blog post about how to select your family photographer but to recap, make sure you do your research. Ask to see full galleries and ask for referrals from past clients if you feel you need it. Even though I know what I’m looking for when I hire a professional photographer, I’m always nervous I won’t like the photos. Trust in your photographer is so key. If you feel like something is off during the session, speak up! Your photographer doesn’t necessarily need to have their own children but make sure you know they like children.
4. Don’t be above bribery
No photographer in their right mind (or at least any with children!) is going to shame you for bringing some snacks or treats along to get the kids to cooperate. In fact, I encourage bribery because it WORKS. Sometime we need to lay down our pride and do what we gotta do for the photos.
5. Help your photographer out … But know when to get out of the way!
I love when parents help me out with an uncooperative kid or a kid who’s too young to really know what’s going on. It can be super helpful for mom to stand behind me and help get the kids to smile. Just ask your photographer where they want you to stand and if they want your help getting their attention. They might be trying to grab some candid and interactive shots before getting them to smile at the camera.
Also in this category is the much-dreaded Pinterest shot list (dreaded by photographers, of course!) If there’s a specific shot you want, I’m always OK with families sharing that. However, sending your photographer an entire Pinterest board you want to create is only going to create unmet expectations. Your family is YOURS, not the ones on Pinterest.
If you have more tips for nailing your family photo session, please leave them in the comments below! If you’re interested in booking a fall family session with me, you can contact me here.