Tips || How to have fun at your family session and avoid the “freak out”

Think about what your session means to you.

Most of my clients are looking to stop time. Some are just looking for a great Christmas card image. Others have an ongoing wall gallery with specific size and dimension requirements. Whatever your session means to you, communicate with your photographer so they can create just what you are looking for.

All families are crazy in their own way. It is ok. Really.

All kids act like kids. Some are shy, some are scared, some a running around in circles. Your kids are no exception. And it is ok.

Laugh. Giggle. Joke. Embrace.  Kiss.  Snuggle.  Play. Repeat.

The best way to capture love is to actually feel it and share it. So, relax. Seriously, relax. Play with your family. Be in the moment. Your only job right now is to be your best you. When you feel the tension creeping up on you, grab a child and give them a hug. Hold hands. Dance in circles.

Plan a random act of kindness for your spouse or old child.

Wedding couples include special touches for their parents, friends and future spouse. So, let’s adopt that. Instead of making family portrait day something the family dreads, make it a celebration.  Maybe leave a little love note or special surprise when you lay out their clothes for the session. Maybe include something special they have been wanting. A new wallet or some cute and silly socks. It doesn’t need to be complicated just genuine.

Bring a favorite friend.

Someday they won’t drag that stuffy to the grocery store or have a tea party with their naked mole rat. Bringing a favorite friend is a great way to add some of your child’s personality to their portraits.

Prepare a fun activity.

When you are engaged in doing something that you love together, I will have the opportunity to take some beautiful and authentic photographs. In fact, some of my favorite 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. Other ideas include: football, piggy back rides, races, bike riding, hiking, singing, picnics, the ideas are endless.

Leave plenty of time to get ready. Consider recruiting help.

I know that mom is often rushing around before a photo shoot, making sure that everyone else is dressed and ready. But, I KNOW that you won’t love your photos if you don’t feel beautiful. This is one day to treat yourself and take the time you need to feel amazing. If possible, treat yourself and have your hair and makeup professionally done. If you need help, consider inviting a baby sitter or mother’s helper to entertain your children when you are getting ready. A great resource for one time sitters is


Go with the flow.

Its ok! NOT everyone has to be looking and smiling at the camera at the same time. The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other. Understand that not every picture needs to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time.
If you are engaged as a family and loving on each other, your eyes will be on your family members and your smile with be natural.
These are the photographs that you will cherish most because they depict your family connection and your love.

Cheese is for crackers.

Please, parents… leave the “cheese” at home.  Cheese is for crackers.  So many times I have found parents who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese to the lady kids!” Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile will only stress your children out (not to mention the photographer) and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs. Step back, and allow the me to naturally interact and talk with your children.  This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles.
Help me capture the true essence of your child’s personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally and easily.

Speaking of cheese….SNACKS and special treats make great bribes….

Gummy bears, crackers, fruit.. Whatever your child loves. Heck, I do the same with my own kids. Little bits of strawberries will get my girl to smile every time!




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