Family photos are often stressful for everyone in the family, but they don’t have to be. You anticipate them for months, find your dream family photographer, and choose your favorite location, but when the day comes you are a ball of stress just trying to get everyone out the door. I totally understand the pressure and stress that comes with photos, so I am excited to share some of my favorite tips to prepare for your family session to help your day go smoothly and make the entire experience as pain-free and amazing as possible. Here are my tips to make your family session easier!
If scheduling last minute works well for your family, do what works! But, in my experience, scheduling your photos in advance will relieve so much stress. Getting it on the calendar early will not only give you more time to prep, but it will also make it easier to plan commitments with your family photo date in mind rather than finding a day that works for everyone last minute. Not only that, but many photographers book out very far in advance. Ensure that you get the photographer and location that you want by booking early. I suggest reaching out to your photographer at least 2 to 3 months in advance for peak season bookings.
Once you’ve scheduled your family photos, start thinking about outfits and other details. Choose your color palette for your wardrobe so you have plenty of time to look for pieces that you love. If you want to get your hair or makeup done, reach out to those vendors early too! Planning early and taking care of details along the way will help reduce the stress as your session approaches. You’ll have a clear idea of what you need to do and what still needs to be done. If you want a place to start, I pin lots of outfit ideas on my Pinterest!
This may seem obvious, but hiring a photographer whose work you love is so important. It’s equally important to trust the photographer that you hire. When you hire your photographer, follow their lead and you will get the best results. If you need help with anything, reach out to your photographer for their advice. I love collaborating with clients to find the perfect outfit, tweak the location, etc. Find a photographer whose work speaks to you, then trust and work with your photographer.
I know that family photos aren’t everyone’s favorite thing. But, the experience can be amazing if you allow it to be. Rather than making the family photos the main event, make it part of a fun tradition that you anticipate all year. Maybe that means going out to eat at your favorite restaurant after while you’re all dressed up, or going home and watching home videos to remember all of your fun memories together as a family. Find fun ways to enrich your family photo experience that are unique to your family. This can make it something that everyone looks forward to rather than dreading.
Even if your session isn’t until later in the day, I suggest laying your outfits out and making sure you have everything you need for your session the night before. Small things can escape you the day of, so having a visual the night before helps so much! Do you need a different pair of shoes for your daughter? You have more time to find them. Is your car on empty? Remind yourself to fill up with gas in the morning. Give yourself a little bit of extra wiggle room in case something doesn’t go your way by prepping the night before.
I personally get very cranky when I’m hungry, and crankiness and photos do not mix. Be sure everyone gets something to eat within a couple of hours of your session. Being well-fed beforehand will help you fully enjoy your experience. I also suggest that you bring snacks to your session. Bring snacks that aren’t messy and that are easy to pack so if anyone needs a pick me up during the session they can grab something to eat or a drink of water. Especially if your location is a bit off the grid, this makes the biggest difference in your experience!
Giving yourself an extra 20 or 30 minutes to get to your location will make everyone happier (especially when you have snacks packed in the car 😉). Pretend that your session starts 30 minutes before it actually does. This way, if you forget something on your way out the door, you have time to grab it, you won’t worry about the traffic as much, and you’ll have a bit of time to wander around the location when you arrive so your kids can feel comfortable. It’s one of my best tips for family photos to make your day go smoother.
If the location is far from your house, pack everything up (be sure to double or triple-check that you have it all!) and get dressed at the location. Especially if your clothes are prone to wrinkles or if you have kids who are a bit messy, this can be a game changer. Since you’ll already be at the location early, this is something I would definitely do!
As your session starts, let go of the things that aren’t important. If you accidentally left a hair clip at home or your son won’t wear the shoes that you chose, choose to let go and focus on having a joyful experience together. The ultimate goal with family photos is to document the beauty of your family as you are. I am there to help you see the joy and the magic that your family has, no matter what little details were forgotten. By releasing your stress and allowing things to be, your photos will be so much more genuine and breathtaking. Focus on what’s important and let go of what isn’t.
During your session, we will get photos of the family looking at the camera like every parent wants on their wall, but we will also document so many more meaningful moments. In 20 years, the photos that you cling to will be the ones of your daughter making the silly face that she always did, or your kids being rowdy together. Don’t try to make your family something that they aren’t, the beauty is in what you are.
If you would like to schedule a session together, I would love to work with you! Let’s get you on my books and start this amazing process together. Contact me today to set up your session!