This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, I hope you enjoy and learn something new and let me know what I missed.
1. The more you stress, the more your family stresses, the more it shows in the pictures. I can erase a zit, but I can’t shake a look of stress off (without face swapping, which is also useless if every photo has that stressed feeling to it). Unless you’re going to a studio where you’re paying by the hour, a lot of photographers understand that it takes time for everyone to feel relaxed in the front of the camera. Take breaks, if you have kids, let them play, just talk to your photographer a while and let them learn more about you and you about them. Drink some water, have a (not messy) snack. This gives everyone a nice break between shots/scenes, and you as well as your spouse and kids can be better rested for the next shot.
2. Kids read off your cues. Kids are smart, and are always watching adults to see what’s going on and what they should do. If you’re relaxed and happy, your child may be a bit rambunctious or super shy at first because this is something new to them and they’re not sure how to respond yet. Keep your cool and your smile genuine and eventually they will follow.
3. Trust your photographer. Most likely, your photographer knows what they’re doing. If you have an idea though, for sure let them know. They may know what they’re doing, but they’re not a mind reader.
4. Plan ahead. Talk to your photographer ahead of time, and not just through email/text/facebook message. Give them a call or meet with them to go over ideas, locations, what to wear/not to wear, what’s important to you and what you want or don’t want. This lets each of you get to know the other before hand and you will feel much more confident going into the shoot.
5. Stuff happens. No shoot is ever perfect. It could take two hours to get the perfect happy family photo you want. In the meantime, don’t stress, make some fun memories and photos being goofy and maybe even getting some shots of just you or you and your partner. You’ll hang the formal photo over your mantle, but you’ll cherish the goofy candid photos for years after.
6. Drink water and bring more with you. Water helps clear out your body of toxins and has a nice refreshing effect. Photo shoots are a lot like workouts, bring some water and snacks to keep you and yours from getting too dehydrated and tired.
7. Do what you want, it’s your shoot after all. Get a last minute idea? Want props in your shoot? Want to try something no one’s ever done before? Do it!
8. The shoot is to be enjoyed, not just endured. Photoshoots are work for everyone involved, and tough work at that, but don’t forget to enjoy it too. Bring a game or play tag. As stated before, take a water or play break. And even during pictures, do something silly. I know I love when families do silly crazy faces together or do a jumping shot or something. Everyone relaxes and the smiles are more genuine after.
9. Bring a friend. Someone to help hold your stuff, who can touch up your hair if needs be, who can watch the kids when you’re getting your own portraits done, and if you kids see someone else they know and are familiar with, they behave a bit better, generally speaking ;)
10. Bring a blanket. Or two. Blankets make great props and are great for break times when you’re not sure what is on the ground. Have your kids all roll into burritos, get a photo of just your feet sticking, get a photo of your partner or child kissing your cheek. Boom. Cuteness.
Be patient and the smiles will come