I know we can all agree that family photos are heirlooms which gain more and more value over time, but they can feel like a frightening leap of faith: faith in your family, faith in your photographer, and faith in the weather. I’m here to bolster that faith and give you solid advice on how to get great family photos at your next photoshoot. Hi there! Jess here from The Jessica Martin Photography & Films. I’ve been a family photographer since 2010. Since then, I’ve picked up a few tricks and I want to help your family photo experience be a success. So, I’ve put together my top five tips to make the results of your family photoshoot wonderful!
1. No Hangry Bellies
This is my number one tip. Make sure everyone eats before the session and bring some snacks. If you have little ones, you know that they can get very grumpy when they are hungry. Who can blame them? I, too, can get pretty grumpy when my belly is rumbling. Make sure to pack snacks that they like, but try to avoid a ton of sugar. Want to level up? Let them pick out some snacks to take or what meal they eat before the shoot. Let them be a part of the process and they will be happier to participate.
Plan for everyone to get to bed on time if not early the night before your photo session. Adults too! This does not just apply to kiddos. If you want to make sure you are feeling relaxed and have a full tank of patience you need to get as much rest as you can too. If your little ones take naps be sure they nap. If they do somedays and not other days, I’ll give you a huge hint: Wear them out before their nap. Lots of fun exercise in the am will help them sleep better come nap time.
3. Lighting and Timing
You know your family best. You know if your kids are grumpy in the mornings or afternoons. As a photographer I will always suggest a sunset time for family photos. Lighting is a key aspect of photography and a photographer’s goal is to take and create beautiful images of your family. However, there are other options. Sunrise is a great choice for little ones. If you go beyond this lighting can get a little overpowering and become unflattering, but you can also consider an indoors session. Taking photos indoors is a perfect choice for the middle of the day. I know lots of photographers will only shoot at certain times, but that doesn’t always work for every family. So, take some time to think about your family and the times of day when everyone seems to be in good spirits.
(The photo shared above was shot around 2 hours after sunrise time)
4. Prepare Your Kids
Do you have shy kids? As soon as you book your photo session talk with your kids about it. Tell them why you’re excited to take family photos. Look back at some of your family photos together. Make sure they know that you want to take photos together because you love being together and want to capture your love for one another. Show them photos of your photographer. If you schedule a zoom call to go over outfits with your photographer have your kid there so they can meet them. Role play with your kiddo. Get out a toy camera and pretend to take photos. Don’t stress about their smile or making them pose or anything just make it fun. If your child is older ask them what kinds of photos they want to take. The more you can involve your family the more they will understand why it’s important to you.
5. Show Up Ready to Interact
A good family photographer will be able to direct you and your family. You won’t have to do anything other than be in the moment with your family. So, plan to play and interact with your family as much as possible. This makes the session fun for you and your kids. Do not issue commands or threats like “You better smile or I’m going to take your ____ away”. Kids shut down immediately in these scenarios and I’ve seen it happen to the best of us. Bring some stickers or m&m’s or any sort of incentive you want. It’s even better when they don’t know you’ve brought anything. Remember, looking and smiling at a camera is not necessarily a fun thing for kids to do. I always suggest a good mixture of images so kids aren’t bored.
If you want a good idea of what a photographer can capture, just ask to see a few of their full galleries. This will give you a great idea of what to expect with your family.
Want more help? I have just the thing for you… a printable photoshoot checklist!