5 Tips: Prepping For A Family Photo Session with Kids
It's no secret that juggling kids and (let's be honest...sometimes a less than enthusiastic partner) for family photos can be tough. Since coordinating outfits, getting everyone into the car and arriving on time anywhere can be challenging -- and even more so when you're trying to look good. I mean there is only so many times one can tell their children to put on their shoes... am I right?!
I mean look, I totally get it. My family before a photo session honestly looks like a complete sh*t show getting out the door. And I know I can't be alone in that -- right?! Especially since I recognize that same desperate look on so many other Momma's faces from time to time.
But like with many things in life, a little pre-planning can go a long way to help mitigate some of the stress and fears you might be having about an upcoming family session. After all, it's not just about arriving on time... it's about slowing down to make capture the moments together that will last a life time, right?!
1) Think Outside The Box: Consider Spring Date Options To Keep Bedtime, On Time.
If you like a photographer's style and want to work with them, but they tell you they only schedule family sessions around sunset hours, consider a spring or fall session instead. Sunsets in April, May, October and November still offer beautiful scenery, but benefit from a much earlier sunset time than say, June which tends to be around 9:15pm.
You'll also benefit from the cooler weather that comes with these earlier sunset times as well, which means less sweat, less grumpiness and less general irritability from the kiddos AND your honey.
Win, win - right?!
2) Outfit Planning: Get on It Early & Don't Go It Alone...
Guurrrrrl, this alone could be it's own post... but I'll keep it brief here:
So, Sis - if your toddler hates shoes, the answer is easy -- don't make him wear them for your session. If you love a dress but hate it when you sit down... then it's NOT the dress to wear for your session.
What you don't realize is that YOU actually already hold the key on what to wear. Or at least the basics of it. Sure, you want the family looking styled, but of course still looking like themselves as well.
So if your tween loves her stacked bracelets, by all means let her wear them! In 20 years, you'll want to remember her quirks at this stage of life, trust me.
But how do you put the polish on the personalities and make the family look cohesive at the same time? It's actually easier than you think! It's really just a 1-2-3 process.
To help break down the framework to creating a cohesive, yet customized look for your family we've created the Hashtag Memories Family Photo Styling Guide to help walk you through the process of nailing your look, every time! You actually don't even have to be a client to access it! You can download it here as well.
Ultimately, the goal with any family outfit planning is to take you and your family's individual style and kick it up a few degrees so that it seamlessly transfers into your images.
3) Snacks, Snacks, Snacks + Water
Nothing and I mean nothing is a pick me up during a family session for little kids like a snack. Seriously, they are MAGIC. Another option for older kiddos is good ol' fashion bribery. That's right... I said it. Bribery.
They listen and behave getting out the door, maybe they get ice cream after the shoot. Although my personal parenting style is a lot more "choices have consequences" approach -- when it comes to family photo -- bribery always wins out, as long as it's used sparingly by the family.
I of course will do my best to get the kids to engage with me. Matter of fact one of my main goals during every family session is to get the kids to naturally giggle and to play. Often times this means I'm walking/dancing/acting a fool - but it works! And that's the goal.
Also, if your kiddos are currently in a stage where they are struggling to listen - BOOK THE SESSION ANYWAYS. Here's why...
Kids ALWAYS listen to adults they don't really know, BETTER than they listen to their parents. It's something about not knowing the new person and how they'll react to different situations, so they err on the side of caution. This is often why I have mom and dad hang out within ear shot but not necessarily right with us when we photograph big kids, tweens & teens. They just relax more and focus better.
Finally it's worth mentioning that I ALWAYS encourage our families to also bring along at least ONE WATER per person for after the shoot -- and if it's hot -- (like June, July, Aug) to bring TWO waters per person. Even in cooler weather we can work up a sweat playing around, and in the hot summer months it's not just a luxury, it's a necessity to keep everyone happy & healthy.
4) When it comes to your calendar: Set it and Forget it.
You know the old infomercial "set it and forget it"? It's also a great trick to help families get out the door on time. When you book a family session with your Indianapolis Photographer, make sure to save the appointment in your calendar for 10 to 15 minutes PRIOR to your actual session time. By doing this, you are far more likely to show up on time. It takes 2 seconds to do and it can help keep you punctual even if you're running late!
5) Confirm your location is kid friendly.
Finally, our last tip, if you're planning a family photo shoot and you've never visited your shooting location before, be sure to talk with your photographer about the kid friendliness level of the chosen spot. Wide open areas like parks and gardens are ideal places for families to shoot because there is no fear of the kids knocking something over or needing to be quite in a more formal setting.
When you and the honey are shooting portraits together, the kids can be behind the photographer on a blanket playing or within eye sight playing tag. Family sessions should be shot in SUPER family friendly locations! We don't want to worry about a 2 year old falling off a dock into the water or perhaps a ten year old's giggles echoing down marble laden hallways. It just adds to the stress for you Momma and that's def. something we all know you don't need any more of!
Ready to build some memoires of your own with an Family Photo Session full of snuggles and giggles?
Hey You... Let's Be Friends, K?!
Hey there - I'm Chelsea! A coffee worshipping Hoosier native, just trying to raise a kiddo and capture vivid memories in central IN for my families & brides. To see more of our work, make sure to FOLLOW us on Facebook and Instagram & sign up for our VIP club to get first dibs on open session date! Curious about me? Dive into my story of how I flushed my comfortable Fortune 500 Marketing Career to take on the life of a SMB owner at HashTag Memories Photography!
Or maybe the idea of photos is stressing you out? Check out this blog post where I get REAL about how shooting a session of my own kiddo taught me how to help YOU mitigate Mommy Session Stress - or this one where we share basic planning tips & FAQs to help set you up for success on your next shoot.