It's almost that time - Family Photo season! As soon as the weather gets a bit warmer, the parks and beaches will be packed with families capturing life's precious moments. And hopefully you & your family will be joining them in doing so!
I get it - Family photos can be stressful! The kiddos don't always listen, outfit-planning seems impossible, and getting everyone into the car on time is a task in itself. That all being said, family photos are so important. You are going to want to remember your children's personalities & features, as they grow older. I highly suggest having an annual session, and constantly keeping your photos up to date! You won't regret it when everyone is all grown up, and you want to go down memory lane.
I've worked with a lot of families across the Greater Vancouver area, and although I am not a mother myself, I have definitely picked up on some Do's and Don'ts. Hopefully some of these will help you in your session planning!
DONT FRET ABOUT WHAT THE KIDS ARE DOING
I cannot stress this enough - let the kids, be kids. Don't try to force them to smile, and force them to stand still - it will show through in the images. You know what will also show through in the images? If you're stressed out and not enjoying yourself. There's nothing worse than going through a session once I get home, and having the parents scowling in every image because they were so worried about the kids looking perfect. Trust me on this; you're not going to care how perfect they looked when looking back at the images. What you're going to want to remember & capture, is their little attitudes, their personality quirks, and the life & energy they brought to your life.
Let them run, let them play, let them be curious - trust me, you won't regret the magic that follows.
WHEN PLANNING OUTFITS, CO-ORDINATE, DON'T MATCH.
I know those photos of families all wearing the same type of outfit look adorable on Pinterest, but in my experience; you'll regret looking too matchy-matchy when you look back on the photos in 10 years. Your kids will also make fun of you for choosing those outfits - I can say this from personal experience, ask my mom.
Focus on a colour scheme, and go from there! The best way is to go on Pinterest and type in "boho colour palette" or "summer colour palette" - pick a season or theme, and work within the colours that come up in that search!
Bonus advice: wear outfits with movement in them! You'll be moving around... A LOT... so don't make it more difficult on yourself by wearing those skin tight jeans you love.
ARRIVE EARLY, LET THE KIDS EXPLORE
This is good for two reasons:
There's nothing worse than arriving late to your session, or arriving right on time and having to frantically get everyone out of the car so you don't lose session time. Give yourself time, so you don't arrive stressed.
This allows the kids to explore a bit, and get used to their surroundings. That way, hopefully, they will be a bit better during the actual session and won't want to run off as much. No promises, but it will definitely help!
CLEAR YOUR MIND, AND RELAX
It's not so much about preparing the kiddos for the session, but more so about preparing yourselves! The kids aren't the ones stressing out, the parents are. So my best advice, is to clear your mind, and just relax. Spend the session talking and playing with your kids; think of it like a fun, family date. If you do this, everything will go over a lot easier & you will actually end up having a good time!
CONSIDER HAVING AN IN-HOME SESSION
... especially if your kids are really little, and you want to capture them as naturally as possible! Dog pile on the bed, play in the nursery, rock in your favourite chair - all of these moments will help your kid relax & allow them to be authentically themselves.
If an in-home session isn't your vibe, and you're stuck on location ideas - don't worry, I've got you! I have a list of suggested locations across the lower mainland.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO GET TO KNOW YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER & ASK QUESTIONS
The best way to feel completely at ease on the day, is to get any and all questions you may have off of your mind! Don't hold back. Wondering if the outfits you picked will look good on camera? Text me a photo! Want to know something about me? Ask away, I'm an open book. You should feel a connection & should be comfortable with your photographer, that way the session will feel like you're just hanging with an old family friend.
THINK ABOUT THE TIME OF DAY YOU WANT TO SHOOT
When are your kids the most energetic & content? Right after naps - perfect, we'll plan for then. As much as I do recommend shooting during golden hour (the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset), I understand that some children's schedules don't work with that timing. If you can manage it, you won't regret shooting for 45 minutes in the beautiful golden light with your mini-me's. But consider your child's schedule when you're considering booking a session & be honest with your photographer about what times in the day work best for you!
Feel better now? A little less stressed out. Good - that was the goal.
Relax, have fun & create some magic with your adorable families. That's all that matters in the end.
Thinking about booking in for some family photos this year! It's always best to book a month or two ahead of time, as photographer's schedules do fill up quickly.