July 29, 2023

How to Prep for a Family Session: Tips to Calm Nerves and Set Expectations

You might be wondering exactly how session is going to go! Your family session will be about an hour long. I don’t want it to be a boring session where everyone is standing stiffly and smiling for 45 minutes. Yawn. I want your kid’s and your family’s personality to shine through these photos! I want these photos to be meaningful to you, for you to look at them and say, yep that’s definitely my kid.

I am an absolute chaos management specialist and I have so many ways to pose, move and connect with your family. If you’re nervous, I get it. But also, just remember that you can trust me to create something you will love.

During family sessions, I love to take a step back. I’m all about setting up a scene and then letting it play out. It’s my way of getting photos that look really good, but also show your personalities, your stories, and your love for each other.

A word of gentle warning…most people with young kids think their session went horribly. Mostly due to the fact that kids under 4 don’t love to be told when to smile, what to do, and where to look. That’s ok! I work very quickly and I keep it moving. The secret is, I can still produce awesome work for you, even if YOU don’t think your kids are cooperating. And I can guarantee, your session went far better than you think it did.

I’ve worked with well over 100 kids and I’ve learned some things along the way…

3 Tips for Kids

1. Prep Your kids

Tell them about the photoshoot 4-5 days in advance. Start talking about it so they know it’s coming! Show them what they’re going to wear and tell them where it’s going to be. Tell them honestly that it might get boring, but it won’t last very long.

2. Bribery is very effective

Bring a few pieces of candy and dole it out periodically. Fruit snacks, m&ms, chocolate chips, gummy worms are all mess proof and small enough that they won’t get stuck chewing for long periods of time. I like the immediacy of candy and treats instead of a promise to get ice cream, etc after the shoot. In my experience, this leads to even more antsy-ness for the session to be over.

3. Do an activity

Consider bringing a favorite book to read together. Play a favorite sport like basketball, soccer, etc. If your session is at home, do a puzzle together or start your nap time routine. Play fetch with your dog. Planning a short activity can give your session a little structure and result in even better, more natural photos of everyone.

3 Tips for Adults

1. Parents: take real time to get ready

You’ve spent energy, money, and time to make this experience happen. Put yourself in a good mindset by giving yourself time to shower, style your hair, put on makeup, do your nails etc. I’d also suggest getting yourself ready before any kids, that way you won’t be scrambling to get yourself in order, and you have a higher probability of liking how you look in the photos :).

2. Prepare all clothing, shoes, and accessories the night before

Organization is your best friend when trying to manage all these details! The day before your shoot, make sure all outfits are clean and maybe even pressed. Make sure you know what everyone is wearing, and gather all parts of the outfit together, even down to socks, hair accessories, and jewelry. Lay it all out. You’ll be amazed at how much this helps you the next day. There will always be an element of scrambling to pull everything together and leave the house on time, but taking 15 minutes the day before to prep everything will set you up for so much success.

3. Be on time

There’s enough chaos to manage without the added stress of being late! I specifically schedule your session around the most beautiful and breathtaking light, and that light changes fast. If you’re late, then we’re going to scramble to fit your session into a smaller amount of time and have less of that magical light to work with.

If you have questions or want to talk about your family session, fill out my contact form and get in touch!

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