In 2015 I vowed I would have my own family photographed yearly. After our last session, I took some time to reflect, and wanted to share in hopes it helps minimize your stress and arm you with tools to prepare your family for the session!
When to start getting ready:
Start getting ready an hour before you think you need to be ready to walk out the door. Something will always slow down the timeline you had planned. For us, it was finding my son’s other navy sock. We ended up up finding it, but not without some stress. Try to eliminate stress level spikes by setting ALL clothing out (socks included) the night before so if you need to track anything down you have time.
How to prep your kids:
I told them the day of the session we were meeting my friend to play games, run around, and my friend was going to take a few pictures. That’s all I said and they were excited to go! I emphasized playing and having fun. This is SUPER important. If you want your kids to be excited for pictures, don’t talk about the picture part. Kids don’t really understand what that even means. But, you better believe they understand playing games and having fun. You can even tell them that if they do well playing the games, they will get a prize at the end! That is usually enough to get them excited and engaged when they arrive. DO NOT spend time practicing smiling, or threatening them in anyway. It will only stress you out and make them uninterested in the session.
How to prep your husband:
I told Danny that for an hour I needed him to be fully present and to have fun with the kids. To laugh, smile, and do whatever the photographer said with 110% enthusiasm. I just needed one hour and he obliged. Sometimes family photos are the last thing your husband wants to do, but when you remind him it is ONE HOUR out of an entire year, he will rise to the occasion.
Ask for help:
As mothers we tend to believe and feel like we need to do it all. If your family is like mine, I scheduled the session, picked out the outfits, and organized every detail. The night before and the day of the session, it’s okay to ask your husband, mother, sister, friend, or anyone you can count on for help. Help to entertain the kids while you get ready. Help with dinner. Help getting the kids dressed. Help with anything that will allow you to remain calm and come to the session ready to love on your family.
At the session:
Once you arrive to the session let it all go. If your kids cried all the way to the session, let it go. If you and your husband argued over which route to take to get to the session, let it go. Let it all go. Once you arrive, just be present. Give yourself that gift. You did the work, the session is now, so enjoy it. During the session, you’re madly in over your husband and your kids can do no wrong. Literally, do not discipline them at the session. Allow the photographer to guide and direct you. I will ask for your help if I need it. Otherwise, let me do my thing. You hired me, so trust that I know what I’m doing and just enjoy the experience.
My main goal at every session is to capture your family’s love by guiding you to interact. How, you wonder? By playing lots of games, tickle fights, family hugs, and more! What I’m directing you to do might sound strange, but go with it. Hold hands, pull your kids in close and kiss your husband. You will probably hear me say, “closer” a million times at the session, even though you think you can’t get any closer, you can. Love on your kids, get handsy with your husband, and above all else HAVE FUN! Your kids can do nothing that will shock me. Griffin decided he needed to go potty during the session. Restrooms were nowhere in sight, so he relieved himself outside, a foot away from where we were taking pictures. And you know what, it was okay. The session was wonderful.
There will be some amount of stress the day of the session, I’m not going to lie to you. But, if you do a few things to prepare in advance, it will minimize the majority of it. Remember, once you arrive, just let it all go and get close!