Have you ever seen those family photos where everything just looks perfect? The family looks relaxed, the kids look happy, the shoot is full of family snuggles and laughter, and you are left thinking..."HOW?" I have some tips for you to try in your next session that will leave you with those types of images too. *Bonus* If you are in the Las Vegas area I can help you make these photos happen!
Styling Your Session is More Important Than You Think.
Styling is half the battle. When you book your family photos with me, I would be happy to help you find coordinating outfits. We can work together to find the best outfits for your family.
Some people might choose to do the styling themselves but the very best sessions are a collaboration between us both. I have created tons of outfits for families and I have learned what photographs well and what doesn’t, and I’m happy to use that knowledge to help you stylize your session.
Show Up With A Carefree Attitude.
I know this is difficult. I really do. I used to be the worst at stressing out before a photo session. Everything had to be "perfect". However, I have learned that the very best family photography sessions come from parents going with the flow. Basically, just pretend like everything your children do during your session is THE CUTEST THING YOU’VE EVER SEEN. If you can do that, then your photos will turn out awesome.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken photos where the kids are all laughing and happy (possibly over something a little naughty) and the shot is ruined by parents scolding their kids and having mad or annoyed faces. But imagine if those parents were gazing at their kids like they were doing THE CUTEST THING THEY’VE EVER SEEN! See what I mean?
I also might say something funny to get your kid to smile or laugh but I don't force them to smile. I would ask that for the session you try to refrain from doing those things too.
And think about how much more into photos your child will be in the future if the pressure is taken off of them to smile during a session. Just for this hour you get to be the COOL parent. That means don't yell at your kids, don't discipline them for one hour, just redirect and go with the flow.
Be thinking of things that your kids find funny and write them down ahead of time. Study the list and then during your session, do or say those things! Yes, your photographer has tricks to make them laugh, too. But parents know their kids and the little inside jokes or funny memories so if you can use those, it will make the experience so much more fun for the kids. And that will show in the photos. So make a note on your phone and keep adding as funny things happen!
Special note to families with older kids: Please don’t say anything to your child about their smile. The only thing it will do is make them feel self-conscious. Most of the session, I want them to interact with their family and not smile at the camera, anyway. And if you see that I’m working on photographing your child alone, maybe take a step back and try not to pay attention because sometimes that’s all it takes for an older child to relax.I will say things to make them laugh and loosen up, so please don’t worry if there are some stiff smiles or funny faces at first. I’ll take those photos probably to make them feel confident that they are doing amazing, and once they feel they are doing well, that is when the real smiles will happen. Or you can step in with some funny stuff you know will make them laugh. Whatever you think your child will respond to best.
Be affectionate during your photography session
During your session I will pose you, I will tell you how to sit or how to stand. But then I will ask you to interact with. your family. During your session, I want you to wrap your arms around your family and squeeze them tight. I like to say in my sessions there is NO PERSONAL SPACE. Get close! Run your fingers through their hair. Smell your baby’s head (why do baby heads smell so good?). Give your partner a sweet kiss on the cheek, gaze at your family and remember where you all started. Embrace. Kiss. Snuggle. Doing these things will allow me to capture the emotion and true beauty of your family. The photos will turn out so much better when sweet things like these are happening.
If you ever aren’t sure what to do, just get close to someone and snuggle on them. You can’t go wrong.
Choose a Photographer That is Patient and Fun
Obviously, that’s me. When you select a photographer who is able to go with the flow and let your kids be themselves, your images will turn out amazingly perfect. I will never get frustrated with your kids. I will laugh off any of their silly or naughty behavior. That’s seriously the trick to relaxed photos. Actually being relaxed. I am taking this advice to heart during our next family session too.
Susanne is a family lifestyle photographer based in Las Vegas, Nevada.