When booking in for a family photography session, the word ‘relaxing’ probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Despite knowing what to expect, my mind still kicks into panic mode when I think of organising my kids to be ANYWHERE happy, clean and smiling. Oh and I also have to be alive, well, dressed and semi reasonable looking? Nope. Panic attack.
Trust me, I understand. The best sessions happen when everyone in the fam is feeling relaxed and having fun! I work my magic to make it feel that way, but there are some things you can do beforehand to make the experience even better.
Explain to the family what’s happening.
Keeping it light and casual when explaining what’s happening can be great to reduce any anxiety. ‘We’re going to go down to **location** and meet this really fun lady Clodagh! She’s going to take some photos of us while we have a fun time as a family. Afterwards she’ll send us the photos so we can see how happy we look having a good time together’. You can show them my photo and some of the photos I’ve taken before so they know what to expect.
This doesn’t just go for the kids either! Including your partner if you have one is important too so they know what to expect.
Down play the photography part of the session.
Instead of talking about how everyone needs to smile for the camera (I will rarely ask anyone to smile, I want it to happen naturally), focus more on the fun you’re going to have and how I’m going to get them to do some silly things. This way it seems a lot more exciting and everyone arrives ready to interact with me and each other. I also suggest keeping the bribes to a minimum (e.g. You can have a chocolate if you’re good) as sometimes this can backfire and make the whole session about when they can have their treat.
Choose outfits in advance and, if age appropriate, involve them in the process.
My advice is always to start with a colour palette for the family, so there’s a bit more freedom in choosing what to wear!
If your kids are old enough you could even give them some choice in what they want to wear so they feel more involved in the process. Make sure everyone is comfortable and everything fits before the day of your shoot so you’re ready!
Focus on yourself too! You have likely booked in because you rarely get any nice photos of you and your family. This is a great opportunity to treat yo self!
Give yourself plenty of time to get ready and get to your session.
Time is key! Leave yourself plenty of it so everyone is already chilled before you arrive. Aim to get to the location 10-15 mins earlier so you have yourself some wriggle room. Sunset sessions are particularly important to be on time for so we’re not stressing about losing light.
Bring some back up outfits for ‘just in case’! Especially if you have very little ones, a lot can happen in one car ride hahaah.
So there you have it my friends! You can leave the rest up to me because I’ll be working hard to get those natural smiles.