Family Session Guide
Prior To Your Session
Preparing your children for our session as much as possible often takes the timidness out of the time together. Please make sure children know that this is FUN! No threats, as they usually bring about tears and added stress. Once we get started, I follow their lead, this allows me to capture their innocence and creates emotion filled portraits that you'll love! Don't even bother telling them to be sure to smile or "be good". My goal isn't to get a picture of your child "being good" or just "smiling" but having fun and interacting. Some children who have been coached to smile for the photographer get so nervous that they are fighting laughing and relaxing because they are so worried about having their picture taken or making their parents happy.
Instead, I'm a huge fan of bribery - (yummy treats after!) are always a great idea for the ones who need a little extra encouragement. However, please don't bring sweets for bribing during the shoot. They tend to end up being a distraction.
Moms, I'm speaking to you. Is your other half feeling less than thrilled about your upcoming photo shoot? Let your partner know that the shoot will be relatively painless and to try to focus on having an hours or so to play with the kids, hold your hand or just savor the moment!
What to Wear
Ah, the age old question always associated with photo shoots. Styling is one thing I try not to have too much of a hand in, since I want you guys to still be you not, Tamisha's idea of fashion. But I'm willing to offer some advice to help your portraits pop!
Depending on the season. here are a few ideas:
Think layers. Probably the biggest difference between sessions that look great and sessions that look wow: Little boys in a t-shirt, with a shirt over it, along with a blazer or vest. Throw on a scarf in winter and you're set! Little girls - same thing, leggings/tights, fun skirt/dress, cardigan and a tasteful (not too big and overwhelming) headband.
*Side note: Stay away from gaudy large flowers in neon colors, shiny fabrics and large hats. They look dated and tend to take away from your little one's gorgeous features.
Coordinate. As you think about your color palette, imagine your family being one complete piece of artwork. Each person/outfit will bring together a feeling of formality and coordination. Instead of everyone wearing the same shade of blue - think about what accent colors might look nice with said blue. Perhaps blue plaid shorts for your son with a t-shirt, vest and hat. Pull some of the colors of his plaid shorts to find a great skirt or dress for your little girl. Dad can wear some jeans and a shirt that coordinates with the plaid shorts and skirt on your daughter, and finish it off with a lovely jacket. Mom will round the entire family out with some great boots, leggings and dress that (again) coordinates with the family color story. Consider neutrals, light and airy fabrics during the warmer months.
Remember to dress down to you and your family's feet! Sneakers, boots, sandals work best!
The Day of Your Session
I mentioned bribery. Love it! Keep in mind that most bribery snacks make messes and have dye in them which leaves color in your children's mouth. Usually this backfires and all they want to do is eat instead of pay attention to me. I suggest keeping goodies in your bag or car until after we've finished.
Please make sure your children go to the bathroom before leaving for the session, as well as limiting their liquid intake beforehand. This allows us uninterrupted shooting time! Sessions with younger children, if your little one usually naps during the time of your sessions, please adjust their naps as best you can.
As for older children, please don't worry that they are not smiling enough, we want to encourage natural expressions and personality which will shine through on the photographs. As with any age, I take my time and do my best to allow your kids to feel comfortable around me and know we are going to have fun!
During the shoot, if you are not in the picture, I may ask for your assistance while I interact with your child. Some parents stand next to me behaving silly while I capture the sweet smiles. There are other times that it proves easier to engage in funny moments with your child by myself. I like to give the little ones a chance to just play with me, so it's okay if they aren't giving big smiles right off the bat.
As you focus on your children, don't forget about yourself! Keep you posture good as well as ensuring your chin doesn't pull in. These allow for the most flattering images. Something else to keep in mind is to be watchful of your own expression as you're trying to get baby to smile. Remember you are in the photos as well! Rest assured I'll be watching all of you and will definitely let you know if I see something out of place or looking off. I also love to capture some special images of just the two of you, candid moments of genuine affection.
A quick but important note: if the weather turns out warmer/cooler than you anticipated when putting together outfits, please adjust what everyone is wearing. Doing a session when it's sweltering and kids are over dressed is never fun. Likewise, if a cold front comes through unexpectedly, please put sweaters/jackets on your children, as I can't Photoshop out goose bumps and blue lips. I will most likely cut sessions short if I think the kids are too cold/overheated.
In case of rain, I will be watching radar all day. If it does rain we will reschedule the session.
Just as important as the weather is that everyone being photographed be feeling 100%. There isn't anything worse than an unhappy and sick feeling child - they especially do not want to be in front of a camera. At the first sign that one of your family members aren't well, please give me a call as it is possible to reschedule.