You’ve seen those adorable, picture-perfect family portraits. You know, where the kids are giggling together, and mom and dad are staring lovingly into each other’s eyes…
Maybe you’re longingly viewing these sweet images while your children are wrestling on the floor or having a temper tantrum in the background and you begin to think to yourself, “My kids would NEVER sit still for photos!”
Well, guess what? No kids (or adults!) are perfect! We have seen smiles change into pouts, fits of giggles turn into a meltdown, and prim and proper outfits become untucked and scuffed with dirt. The secret to attaining “perfect” family portraits is these three little words:
Let. It. Go.
Letting go of expectations will take the pressure off and help everyone to just relaaaax, and focus on enjoying time spent together as a family. A real, genuine (sometimes messy) family.
But being able to “let it go” can be easier said than done! Luckily, we’ve photographed enough of the good, the bad, and the ugly to have a few handy tips in our back pocket. They’ll help you arrive to your session well prepared, relaxed, and with the proper mindset to truly enjoy your family!
1. Set Aside Plenty of Time to Get Ready
Don’t scramble through your drawers the morning of your session, panicking over what you should wear. Instead, begin putting together coordinating outfits a few days before your session. This will give you plenty of time to run to the store or create a Plan B, just in case things don’t come together right away.
The morning of your session, expect the unexpected! It can be a challenge to get yourself all gussied up, while ALSO worrying about your kids spilling their orange juice down the front of their new dresses….
The best kept secret? Go get your hair and makeup done professionally, and dress your kids in their photo outfit once you arrive to the shoot location. Don’t even tell them that they are getting their photos taken; instead, tell them they are going to hang out with their new friend, Blair! Everyone arrives fresh, clean, and without having experienced the stress of hustling to get mentally, emotionally, and physically prepared.
2. Feed the kids… and bring snacks!
Children should arrive with full bellies! Hungry children are unhappy children. For that matter, even adults who are hungry can be irritable (we’ve all been hangry a time or two!), so keep snacks and water nearby in case anyone needs a quick refueling. Avoid foods that might stain teeth or tongues, or that would require a bib. We don’t recommend bribing with food or candy during the session, but do let us know if anyone (even you or your husband!) needs a short reprieve.
3. Focus on Playing, and Not the Kids’ Smiles
We have one MAJOR tip, and it may totally defy your instincts. After all, you’re paying money for this session, and you want them to turn out… but trust us.
Don’t tell your kids to smile. Ever.
Let your photographer do the work. Your kids will get overwhelmed with too many voices directing them, and so will you. Just relax, enjoy your family, enjoy the moment, and try to refrain from shouting SMILE before every shutter click.
Don’t worry about your children being on their best behavior; embrace their quirks and character and leave it up to us to capture the uniqueness of your family. If you start to stress out, they will start to stress out too!
The perfect family photo may not necessarily be the one you had envisioned. Usually the ‘perfect’ shot comes unexpectedly when you are just being you with your kiddos! The goal is to capture happy moments with you and your children. So play with them! It will help create moments that are real and genuine.
Make your next family photo session less about getting the perfect shot, and MORE about the moment, each other and the thought of what memories will be triggered by these photos years down the road. We can’t wait to photograph your sweet family!