We all want lovely photos to document our littles ones growing up but unfortunately just the thought of a family photo session can turn some hairs grey. While I've witnessed time and time again that booking a session almost guarantees little Timmy will get a busted lip two days before, there are a few things you can do to make the experience a better, dare I say enjoyable one.
1 | Carefully Select Your Photographer
This might seem obvious but not all photographers are created equally. Referrals are my favorite clients but before you take your friend's word, be sure to check out the suggested photographer's portfolio. If you'd rather have outdoor portraits but their website showcases in-home lifestyle images, consider a few other artists before making your final decision.
2 | Personalize It
My favorite sessions involve the family doing something. Kiddos are often most comfortable at home and are more likely to be genuine in front of the camera/stranger when they're asked to show you their worm collection or the sprinkler is turned on in the backyard and they're set free! Of course we'll take some classic portraits of everyone smiling at the camera (just for you, grandma), but keep in mind that vulnerable images don't come right away. Provide an activity or build in some warm-up time at the beginning of the session so your photographer is more likely to capture the kids you know and want to hold onto forever.
3 | Don't Match, Please
Gone are the days of white and denim, folks. Feel free to stick within a color palette but let's not get carried away with the matchy-matchy. Plan your wardrobe ahead to eliminate day-of stress (and have a backup option for littles). I typically suggest that Mom picks out her wardrobe first, making sure it's something in which she feels confident and comfortable, then the kiddos and lastly Dad. And don't be afraid of color or pattern! I also recommend steering clear of text on clothing; as "cute as a button" your little one may be, text can often distract in an image.
4 | Trust Your Photographer
This is why #1 is so important. If you've chosen a photographer whose work you admire and around whom you feel comfortable, than trust that they have your best interest in mind. If you're especially self-conscious of your feet or really want a image of baby sitting in a special chair, say something! But also be careful not to become art director of your own session -- it's supposed to be a time for you to relax and choosing an experienced photographer makes this possible.
5 | Have Fun
If you're running late because baby girl just had a blow out in her brand new outfit (it's happened -- remember that secondary outfit?), and you're stomach is growling because you forgot to each lunch, the stage is set for a snappy "just smile, John-boy!" Once Mom and Dad stop having fun it's typically a downhill battle with the kiddos. So plan ahead, make sure everyone's belly's are full and maybe plan an ice-cream extravaganza post-pictures. Not necessarily for the bride factor, but because the whole event is an effort to remember this crazy beautiful chaotic time in your lives -- to document your family and the love you have for one another -- so make an afternoon of it!