Have your clothes picked out ahead of time? How have you dreamed your photos will look like? Bold and bright? Soft and elegant? Color coordination is great, but not too matchy, matchy! How about some fun accessories like hats, scarves? Get sassy! Here in Montana, the weather can be unpredictable and extreme. Be prepared, and you'll look your best. No frostbitten noses etc... Also, a change of clothes, especially for those unexpected kiddo messes.
2. Feel you're best.
I always recommend a good night's sleep before a photo session. For the kiddos, be sure not to schedule at nap time or after bedtime. Also, try not to schedule too close to mealtime. Hangry is a bad look for everybody! Bring water and non-sugary, sticky, gooey snacks (mood swings and stains).
3. Allow plenty of time to get ready.
Moms are usually rushing around before a photoshoot, making sure that everyone else is dressed and ready. Mom, get your hair and makeup professionally done. When you're feeling pretty and confident, this will reflect on the rest of the family. Leave plenty of time for showers, baths, dressing, and grooming. When a family shows up to a family photo session rushed and disorganized, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganized session. Give yourself extra time so that you are ready before it’s time to head out that door.
4. Dad, you got this!
Dud, please cheerfully participate. I know you may dread photo sessions, but you know how important capturing your beautiful family is. Your images will be a legacy for your children to share with their own families one day. When you see your amazing photographs and how happy your wife is, you'll be glad you gave your family this time. So, let's rock this!
5. Cheese is for crackers.
Too many times, I have had parents who stand behind me and scream, “Say cheese to the photographer kids!” Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile usually stresses your children out (not to mention the photographer) and will result in strained, unnatural, and often unflattering photographs (think, the shark smile). Relax and allow the photographer to interact and talk with your children naturally. This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles. Allow the photographer to capture the true essence of your child’s personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally and easily.
6. Leave your camera (camera phone) at home.
When you take pictures while your photographer (who you have paid to do this) is photographing them, you are confusing and distracting your children and preventing your photographer from capturing the best possible images if you're kiddos. Just step back, and your photographer will capture your children the way you envisioned.
7. NOT everyone has to be looking and smiling at the camera at the same time.
Yes, I know what I just said, but... The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other. Not every picture needs to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. If your family is engaged and loving on each other, your eyes will be on your family members, and your smiles with be natural. These are the photographs that you will cherish most because they depict your family connection and your love.
I know those last few tips sounded a bit like a rant. The best photo sessions are a collaborative effort, and if we are all working together, that's when the magic happens!