1. Set Realistic Expectations
Stress free means that as a mom I understand that most kids are not going to sit through a 15-30 minute session pretending to be happy about it. With this in mind, my sessions are both interactive and fun! I provide you with direction to get you to interact with each other versus static, fake smile poses. The interactions I create provide real reactions to make kids look and feel natural in photographs.
2. Bring a Bribe
Usually at family portrait sessions I bring treats like lollipops, in case someone is not cooperating. This is a great way to relive stress by knowing there’s a back up plan, when things don’t go as planned. (Hate to break it to you, but they never do.) I also suggest parents bring their own treats as well or the promise of ice cream at the end of family photography session can entice even the most pouty kids.
3. Know How the Photographer Shoots
The beauty of the digital camera is that a photographer can take as many shots as they would like. All those moments in between instructions can be documented and, honestly, those are some of the best moments for natural looking photographs. Why? Because no one is thinking about the camera. So don’t stop what you’re doing when you here the click in between “poses.”
4. Make Sure Your Photographer is Encouraging
My job is to be there for my clients, to make them feel that they are doing a good job. Family portrait sessions can be very deflating if the photographer is not enthusiastic, which reflects on your mood. Deflated moods lead to unnatural looking photographs and high stress levels. Getting your picture taken should be exciting!
5. Don’t Expect Smiles All the Time
I don’t expect my child to smile all the time and I don’t expect it in family portraits either. It’s unnatural to force a smile and it shows in photos, they look cheesy. It also stresses out the family if one person doesn’t smile because everyone encourages them to do so. Kids that don’t smile can still have wonderful photos that often look soulful and heartwarming!
See what an hour long session is like or for a true stress free photography experience try a different kind of session like "day in life" sessions.
Hour long sessions are designed for the busy parents who need a quicker session, but still want to capture all the personality within their families. We start the session with 20 to 30 minutes of direction, then the second half of the session I like families to play and engage with each other. It's half portraits and half documentary. The best of both worlds!
Need help figuring out what to do for the second half of your session? No worries, I can give you lots of fun activities for your family to do. Here are some examples:
On Location or at Home
Location photo shoots are amazing opportunities for family photo sessions. There are so many options outside. You could go on a short hike, you could play a scrimmage game of soccer, you could go on a nature walk collecting different specimens or whatever it is that your family normally does to have a good time.
On location shoots are also stress free. You don't have to worry about what your home looks like or tidying up. But if you're still stressed out about your family portrait session, then check out my 5 tips for a stress free family portrait session.
If you're still stuck and need help thinking about what to do for a session, I am here to help. I used to work for a with kids at a Parks and Recreation Department, so I love to plan fun little activities. I also have explored lots of places in Northern California and know some great spots for photo shoots.
But maybe the best place to do a photo shoot is in the comfort of your own home. You know at your house the backyard is the place to be! So having a photo shoot there would be ideal. You can use the same ideas above in your backyard as well!
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Just remember I want your family to be comfortable and have fun! We don't want to try to fill your time with one activity after another. Pick something you know your kids will really enjoy. The safest bet is to pick a location your family visits often or have me pick it for you. If you need any help deciding please fell free to call (916) 955-3269 or email at email@example.com.