As a professional photographer I’ve taken thousands of pictures for beautiful families each summer and fall. Capturing “the” photo for their Christmas cards is often on their minds. Recording the changes that occur throughout the year as your family grows can be a lot of fun! But let’s face it, when it comes to getting family photos taken, FUN isn’t always the first word that comes to mind. I’ve been behind the camera enough times with my own family to realize that family photos, while they are treasured keepsakes, don’t come without some effort. Today I’m going to share a few quick tips with you that can help put the fun back in your next family photo session. 🙂
At a photo session for our family a few years ago, the above photo was one of my favorites. I sure love that sweet family of mine! While we’re all looking at the camera in this shot and mostly smiling…I have to tell you, that this was only one of a handful of shots from the hundreds that were taken during the session, where this was the case. 😉
5 simple tips for your next family photo session: 1. Have a plan. Plan the time of your photo session carefully. Make it a time when you won’t be rushed, children will be fed and well rested. Wear comfortable clothing. Pick a location where you can take the majority, if not all of your photos. Have a wishlist of photo ideas and poses you’d like captured ready for your photographer to help them know what style of photos you’re looking for (casual, silly, formal, etc.) Prepare everyone ahead of time so they know how long you’ll be taking photos and any behaviour expectations you may have. You want as many variables working in your favour as possible. Tired, hungry kids, uncomfortable clothing choices and multiple changes in location are all going to cut down on the amount of time everyone is happy and smiling for photos. Have a plan and make it a simple one.
3. Involve the whole family. Ok, that might sound funny, it is family photos afterall, but inviting everyone’s input (especially children’s) as far as clothing choices, poses and other ideas, helps everyone feel like the photo session is a team effort – not just something they’re doing because mo and dad said they had to. 😉 Let each family member take a turn arranging the family how they’d like to see them photographed. Watch out, this could get a little silly. 🙂 When children are given some creative control and allowed to share their input they are so much more cooperative when it comes to taking photos mom and dad or the photographer would like.
5. Have Fun. Most importantly make your family photo session a fun event, something to look forward to. Bring silly props – think fake mustaches, funky glasses, balloons or even some bubble gum for a bubble blowing contest. Not only do they look cute in photos, props also serve a very useful purpose. They keep little hands busy, fill in time while siblings are being photographed and help to drawing out smiles and genuine interactions. Whatever you can do to ensure that your photo session is an event to anticipated, not dreaded is going to help make it fun and will even help set the stage for next years photos!