I love getting family photos taken. I know that it means that I get to be in the photo loving on my kids without worrying about taking the shot myself. I get excited about the possible new photos I will have to adorn my walls, and gifts to give to family members. Most of all, though, I am excited to exist in photos with my family. However, I know that my family may not be as excited about having their photos taken. In my line of work, I have also come across many a husband (and toddler) who isn't excited when they first meet me. I can tell right away they would much rather be anywhere else but having their photos taken. Now, I can say that in the end I have had many people (kids and husbands included) tell me that they had fun! But here's a few tips to help get your family excited about family photos before realizing how awesome it really is (wink, wink).
Excitement starts with you, mama.
I know you want everything to go perfectly and I know you want your children to behave like the angels they always are, while your husband smiles lovingly at you. However, the more your family feels that pressure, the more they will resent having their photos taken. The less you stress, the less they will, too. I tell all the families I photograph to just relax and love on their family and let me worry about the rest.
Make it a fun family experience.
Talk about family photos as a part of an entire family experience. Tell the kids you are going to go play at the park (or river/field/etc) while a photographer takes your photos. Then you get to go out for dinner or go for ice cream. Talk about the experience together as a family, as something you get to do not something you have to do.
With that said, don't plan fun activities for before family photos. If your session is at sunset and the kids have had a jam packed day of fun, they are much more likely to be exhausted and cranky.
Tell the Kids What to Expect
If your kids are young, or its just been a while since you've had family photos taken, they make be unsure of what to expect. Kids can get anxious when they don't know what to do or what will be expected of them. Alleviate their worries by telling them about me and how I will have a camera to take pictures of you guys while you're having fun together as a family. Showing them photos from my website can help, too!
Tell Your Husband How You Feel
I know that dads aren't typically excited about family photos, just like the kids. However, acknowledge that you know it isn't his favorite thing to do but that it is important to you.
Embrace the chaos
I say again, it is your job to just love on your children and let me worry about the rest. I want you to know that I have seen it all and have no expectations to how your children will act. Kids may start out shy and unsure of me, or they may talk my ear off full of ideas, both are great. I go along with what vibe I'm getting from your children and build from there. However, if you are scowling in the background because they aren't letting go of your leg, it will show up in your images (and possibly rub off on the kids and your husband!).
In the End, Trust Me.
You hired me for a reason. I'm guessing you saw my work and loved what you saw, or a friend told you about me (thank you to them!). Getting ready may not go as smoothly as planned. Your daughter may have lost her bow you bought just for the photo session (yup, that was my daughter) and maybe your husband gets frustrated looking for a parking space (again, true story from my own family photos). But I promise, if you just take a deep breath and trust me to capture your family beautifully, you won't regret it.
Are you excited for your family photo session? Let's get your family on the calendar!
Ready for your session but not sure what to wear? Check out What to Wear for Family Photos!