1. CHOOSE YOUR CLOTHING AHEAD OF TIME
Have your clothing chosen in advance and make sure that your outfit choices are comfortable and attractive. What do your dream family photos look like? Are they soft and elegant? Choose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics…. think creams, soft pastels, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues. Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family? Choose coordinating colors (but not too matchy) with bold accent colors, such as hues of gray with yellow or bright red accents. Adding fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images.
2. BREAK THE RULES
Now that I’ve brought up the topic of clothing I will say that if little Sophie is going to have a breakdown because she can’t wear her princess costume, let her wear her princess costume. Happiness should be priority above all else. If that means breaking some rules, so be it. You will be happier with your photos if everyone is authentically having fun in them. And imagine what memories those photos will bring when Sophie is all grown up and you have this moment to laugh about!
3. CHEESE IS FOR CRACKERS
Now don’t get me wrong, one of my favorite things in the world is cheese, but it doesn’t belong at a photo shoot. Telling the kids to say “Cheese” usually results in strained, unnatural and unflattering photographs. Instead, step back and allow the photographer to naturally interact and talk with your children. This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles.
4. FOR GOD’S SAKE EAT!
Speaking of cheese, arrive to your photo session rested and well-fed. Many families come to a photo session with dinner scheduled at the end. If this is your plan, be sure to give everyone a healthy snack beforehand to tide them over.
5. LOOK AT EACH OTHER
Not everyone needs to be looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other. If you are engaged as a family and loving on each other, your eyes will be on your favorite people and your smiles will be natural.
6. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING TOGETHER?
My most successful family sessions have incorporated an activity that the family loves to do together. This gives you something to do with your hands and feet, engages the little ones, and brings an authentic smile to your face. Do you love to read together? Bring some books. Love to play board games or cards? Plan to play a round of Uno or Monopoly during your session. Other ideas include: football, piggy back rides, races, bike riding, the ideas are endless. When families are engaged in doing something that they love together, the photographer will have the opportunity to take some beautiful and authentic photographs.
7. HAVE OUTRAGEOUS FUN!
Don’t be afraid to pick up your children and toss them in the air. Give your wife a sweet kiss on the check. Whisper to your husband your favorite inside joke. Have fun. Laugh. Giggle. Joke. Embrace. Kiss. Snuggle. Play. Doing these things will allow the photographer to capture the emotion and true beauty of your family.