It’s FALL!! And that means FAMILY PHOTOS!! Does it stress you out? I know it stresses me out and not just because I’m a photographer!!! I know you WANT to do it, you feel like you SHOULD do it, but it’s SOOOOO much work to get your family all ready, to figure out outfits, find a date that works for everyone, pick a photographer, and then make sure the weather is going to be good, and it’s not going to be freezing cold by the night of your session. #alwaysinchicago

I GET IT!!! I 100% GET IT!!

A couple weeks ago I was meeting a photographer to exchange family photos, it was just going to me my son and I so I was trying not to stress. I bought a dress on clearance specifically FOR these pictures, and then I honestly changed my dress THREE times and didn’t even wear the dress I bought. #fail

I completely understand the stress and work of family photos and I want to help make them a little easier for you!!

Here are 5 things to help you (and the kids) have a better photo session:

#1 – Don’t worry about the weather or location (let me do that!) – I constantly watch the weather and will get in touch with you as soon as possible to make a back up plan if I feel like the weather isn’t going to cooperate with us. I do NOT want you or your kids to be miserable!! I’ve been to a TON of locations in the area, and I will make sure that the location we are using has beautiful light and give you the desired background. Trust me, I can make even a little alley way look beautiful, it’s all about the light and angle of the camera!!

#2 Don’t worry about the kids behaving and following directions – I’m the oldest of 7 and have 30 nieces and nephews. Kids are my jam!!! I LOVE working with kids. I love capturing their little personalities and those sweet, shy smiles. If one of them is struggling, I will take them off to the side for a few minutes to gain their trust and let them be the star… most of the time they come around pretty quick!! But even if not, we’ll make it work, you don’t need to stress if one of the kids is NOT having it at your session! This is VERY important!! Kids are going to be kids and the more you get upset at them, the worse they will act. I’ve seen it happen over and over at sessions. Take a step back and let ME be the boss at the session, most of the time kids respond better to a new adult and I try to make it fun and show them over and over how GREAT they are doing. (PLEASE don’t hesitate to step in if you have something that will help, I don’t know their favorite things or how they respond, but I’m very patient and will do my best to work some magic!!)

#3 – Check the expectations (yours and the kids)I’m not above bribery and you shouldn’t be either. Sometimes kids need a little extra something to get them on board!! Think of it this way… you show up to family photos with a big, new person who has a big, fancy camera in her face and keeps telling you what she wants you to do. (I wouldn’t like that either).

Kids need a little incentive to help them cooperate, and I bring plenty of little treats to get them on board and help them stay focused!! You can help your kids by setting them up for success, explain to them what to expect (we’re going to put on your fancy new dress and Liberty is going to take some pictures of you playing and twirling in your beautiful dress), and build up the expectation that this will be a FUN experience!! Also, plan something fun to do AFTER they are done, an ice cream date or donuts are a fun incentive for all children! (if you choose to bring a small snack or treat to your session, please make sure it’s not messy, or bright colored as this will show up in your photos!)

#4 – Get ready to pull out all the stopsespecially if you’re the dad (mamma warn your hubby about this one). For some reason most kids respond well to dad being silly, and dads can be REALLY silly, right? Warn dad that he might have to put on a show to get the kids to smile!! If dad isn’t the funny one, you might consider bringing back up entertainment; grandparents, friends, the iPad or your phone can all help when the kiddos just aren’t responding to all the other tricks. I’ve got plenty of tricks up my sleeve, but you know your kids best and you know what they will respond to. If there is something I can do to help them cooperate, please let me know, I’m happy to try anything if it’s going to get a genuine smile!! (within reason of course!)

#5 – Don’t worry about the PERFECT picture – Does it really even exist? Is it real life for your family? Do you want forced smiles and uncomfortable kids even if they are all looking at the camera? Or would you LOVE a photo of the crazy, chaos that is YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW?? Some of my favorite photos are the imperfect, candid, REAL LIFE photos that show how hard parenting kids can be. (I only have one, but I totally get itremember those 30 nieces and nephews!!) I always TRY to get the “ONE” picture that every mom wants, you know with everyone looking and smiling… but I don’t PROMISE it. What I do promise is that I will capture your kids in real life at your session, and I promise we will HAVE FUN!!

So, what else can I help you with?

Besides what to wear? I KNOW that struggle and I promise to send you a STYLE GUIDE and advice about what you should wear and what will look best on camera, but I TOTALLY GET IT!! What to wear is MY biggest struggle!!

Thank you to the Edwards Family for this super fun, playful session. Some of their kids were NOT having it that night, and I think we captured pure magic anyways!! Let me know if you have any other questions or suggestions for me, and get on my calendar ASAP, I’m almost completely booked for fall sessions!!

  1. These are wonderful tips! And such an adorable little family 😊

  2. Shawna says:

    Such good advice!! Love the fun candid moments!

  3. Zinette says:

    This is absolutely adorable. I love your tips! Your work is really stunning!

  4. Courtney says:

    What a great resource for your clients!! Great post

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