You know I have three small children. I know a lot of you have small children. In which case, we all know that finding some spare time in your already packed calendar to schedule your family portrait session is actually the easiest part of the whole process.
What are we going to wear? How do I get my husband to smile? What if my kid throws a tantrum? What if they run and fall and end up with mud all over their clothes? What if I don't like the way I look?
I get it. I've been there. In fact, most of the time, I'm still in the same situation AND I add the stress of trying to get amazing images of my own family. You see, I'm a huge procrastinator and therefore can never get my act together enough to schedule a photographer for myself. Plus, I'm a little picky and like to do my own editing. But, here's the thing, you are always thinking of worst case scenario. So, here are my top three tips for lowering that stress level and actually finding a way to ENJOY spending an hour of quality time with your family.
Number One - Bribery works really well. I'm not normally on board for bribes with children, but in this case it actually does work. Case and point, my 7 year old was adamantly against letting me take her picture. I don't take it personally because she just doesn't like being the center of attention. But, I passed on buying the school portraits this year and I need updated images for Christmas gifts. I have my anxious kiddos on some food restrictions for various reasons, so I knew that if I offered up something that is normally forbidden she would be all in. I even let her choose which forbidden treat she would get. That girl smiled like I have never seen her smile before...and I dare say she actually looked like she was having fun. Her treat of choice? Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies...chock full of ingredients that make me (as her mama) cringe. But, I got what I wanted and so did she.
Number Two - Come in a wardrobe that is comfortable! If you are not a fancy schmancy family, then DO NOT come dressed like you're going to a black tie affair. Dad will be annoyed and tugging at his bow tie. Mom will be worried about her Spanx staying put. Little Ava will will be whining that her tulle skirt is too itchy. And Little Evan will be trying to rip off the buttons on his shirt. You're setting yourself up for a very unpleasant experience. Now, I'm not saying you can't dress up your norm a little bit, but if your kids are used to wearing UnderArmour try to keep them at the same comfort level. And Mom...wear something you feel good in. Now is not the time to test out that jumpsuit you swore you'd never wear. (<---I don't worry about that one, but one of you might)
Number Three - and this one might be the most important - TRUST YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER! You hired this person for a reason. You scoped out their portfolio. You got recommendations from friends. You've talked to them via phone call or email. If they are the person you liked when you hired them, they know what they're doing. If Johnny is running amuck and won't stay in a pose - try not to yell at him or make threats. Your children are not the only ones who do this...actually 99.9% of them do this. We have tricks up our sleeves. And even when those tricks don't work, we work with it and we know how to use our camera ninja skills. I promise you, we WILL get that amazing shot. Try to relax and just let us do what you hired us to do. The image below of my own two daughters, is a good example of kids not wanting to stay in a pose. That two year old is a little cray cray and has a stubborn streak like you wouldn't believe. She had no interest in holding sisters' hand, she was more interested in running in the rain or chasing the dog walking behind me. I could have gotten extremely frustrated, but instead I just went with it and let the girls do what they wanted. And what did I get? Oh, only my favorite image from the whole session.