Getting professional photos of your family can sometimes wind up being a stressful event! Some of that stress is unavoidable, but I’d like to give you some advice that could help reduce it significantly.
Here are my steps to help maximize the success of your photo session:
1. Research your photographer.
In the digital age, lots of people can take hundreds of photos and wind up with a few good ones. But when it comes to photos of your family, you don’t just want a few good ones. You want lots of them! So when you’re looking for a photographer, look at a large amount of their work, not just a few photos. Make sure you like it all, and that it’s consistent, so you won’t be walking in expecting one thing and getting another. While there are a few good photographers who are cheap, the vast majority of the cheap photographers are cheap because they’re new to the field, uneducated in photography, and/or inconsistent with their work. So keep that in mind if you're making a decision based on price.
2. Prep your kids.
I see this one become a problem a LOT. This advice especially applies when your kids haven’t met the photographer, you’re taking them to an unfamiliar environment, and/or you’re asking them to do something unfamiliar to them. If you just plop a kid into a completely new situation with no warnings about what they can expect, the benefits of acting well, or the consequences of acting poorly, then they’re not very likely to give you what you want.
For example, I recently had a new family show up for a session, and the mother told me that she had been playing “Bonnie Says” with her son the night before to prepare him to listen to and respect me like he would if he were playing “Simon Says”. I thought this was pretty genius, and her son did very well during photos.
3. Prep your photographer.
If you have specific ideas in mind for your photos, tell your photographer ahead of time! This benefits everyone, because the photographer can be more intentional with their time during the session, and you can get what you want. No, of course, we can’t accommodate every request, and some requests just don’t work in reality, but it never hurts to ask! You are hiring us, and you’re spending hard-earned money on this, so speak up and make sure the end-product is going to be something that makes everyone happy.
Speaking up includes DURING the session as well! I’ve heard many stories of photographers delivering a newborn gallery, only to hear that the mom didn’t love the colors or the posing or something else. That’s something she needed to say during the session, not after. Otherwise, everyone’s time is being wasted, and the final product isn’t something you’re happy with. Trust me, a photographer would much rather hear that you don't like something during the session than after it.
4. Don’t be afraid to discipline your kids!
It seems to make everyone incredibly nervous to discipline their kids in public nowadays. I get this, but trust me, if you fail to put your foot down during a photo session, you’re more than likely going to get a kid who doesn’t cooperate. This is going to make the session harder for the photographer and much more frustrating for you. Asking your kid, “Ok, well what do YOU want to do?” when he’s refusing to cooperate for a photo can very quickly go south. I’ll tell you what he wants to do. He wants to run away, make fart noises, throw dirt, and shove handfuls of M&M’s in his face. And those things don’t always make for good photos. 😊 So don’t be afraid to lay down the law if your kid is acting badly. And, of course, this all goes much better if you’ve prepped your kid ahead of time and told him your expectations.
I hope these pieces of advice help!! Keep them in mind, and I bet your next photo session will go a little bit smoother. 😊