How to prepare for your family photo session

Oct 18

If you’re preparing for a family photo shoot, you know there are a lot of things to consider. As a photographer with over 10 years of experience, I want your family to be ready and feel comfortable during our time together. I’m also a mother of three and a wife, so I know that getting ready for your session can be time consuming and stressful.

My process of photographing involves capturing real, candid and authentic moments of you and your family. I love to document the beautiful in your everyday life with the people you love. I want to keep your stress level low, so I’m sharing some of my favorite tips to help.

First, consider the setting for your photos. What do you want the feel of these images to be? I love in home and outdoor sessions where the setting provides an opportunity for people to be a little bit more comfortable and relaxed. I also offer my clients an all white studio session, if the weather is not cooperating or you want a classic, clean backdrop. If you have other ideas (parks, downtown, beach), I’m open to whatever you feel would be best for your family.

When choosing outfits for the family, it’s important that everyone be comfortable. It is always evident to me when people don’t feel good or their clothing is restrictive. Children are more quick to say something than adults when clothing doesn’t feel good, so please listen to them. I would recommend choosing a light, muted, pastel color palette. The lighter, more muted colors don’t reflect onto skin tones and don’t distract from background.

Once you have decided on your palette, work on coordinating the colors, not necessarily matching. The photos will look better if everyone coordinates well together instead of being perfectly matched.

Preparing The Kids
When you have kids, you know all the important factors to preparing them for something new or maybe something that doesn’t happen often (photos). I would encourage you to introduce them to me ahead of time. Show them my website or a picture of me on Instagram. I’ve heard others say things like to younger kids, “This is Mary Craven. She is my friend. She has a big camera and is going to take pictures of our family, so it is important to listen to her and mommy so we can have a lot of fun.” You know your kids, so anything you can do to help them feel more comfortable with me and our time together will result in natural, beautiful smiles.

Preparing for Unknowns
We will prepare and do everything we can to make your session just perfect, but there is always a chance some of our preparations could go wrong. Murphy’s law, right? It can be easier said than done, but if you prepare that something isn’t going to happen perfectly, it can help your reaction if that does become a reality.

If you have a little ones, preparing for spit-ups and full diapers is probably pretty ingrained in your everyday routine. You do all the planning and preparation in the world, but things happen. I’m a mother and I get it. If it does happen, we will make the best out of the situation. I have lots of experience doing this. I promise, it’s not my first rodeo.

Try to relax
I want to photograph your family in a natural and candid way and that can be hard to do if everyone is feeling uptight or stressed. We know, as parents, that our kids feed off our own energy, so do your best to keep things light and have fun. It’s okay if they need to run off some of their endless energy or if you want to arrive at the location a little bit earlier than our session to get comfortable with the new sights and sounds.

Brainstorm + Communicate
Do you have ideas? Let’s talk, text, or e-mail. Seriously – I’d love to help you think through ideas. It can be on any of these covered topics or anything else I didn’t cover. My goal is to make this a wonderful experience for your entire family with beautiful keepsakes for you to treasure for years to come.

Those are some of my best tips for helping your family prepare for their photo session, but if you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m here to help. – MC

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