How to prepare for your family shoot

Hey! Congratulations on booking your family photoshoot!

It’s likely you’ve wanted to have great photos of your crazy fun family for a long time …but now the reality sinks in of getting everyone prepped, clothes ready and you probably dread being in front of the camera.

Don’t worry, me too! It’s completely normal to be a little bit nervous and shy about having your photo taken but after 100’s of photoshoots trust me after the first click all those feelings will dissipate and we’ll have fun! Promise!

In the meantime here are some tips to prepare yourself for a family photo session, so you’re less anxious ahead of time and ready to get that first shot clicked!

Prepping the kiddos

First off, there’s no homework to do! But you can describe the shoot to your kids beforehand, just so they understand someone will be hanging out and taking pictures. It doesn’t hurt to make the event sound like something fun and special. Using words like “photo shoot,” “director,” or “model” can take the mystery out of it and make it all a fun dress-up kind of game to look forward to. No need to practice smiles or poses! The best photos are made when little ones can just relax and be themselves.

Tired & Hangry? I meet many families who come to a photo session with a yummy dinner promised at the end. If this is your plan, be sure to give everyone a healthy snack / meal before the photo shoot. Plenty of sleep the night before for everyone and if needed, fit a nap in or on the way, there’ll be plenty of time to come around.

Herding Cats. I’m a parent and I know how frustrating it can be when my kids don’t behave when you want them to but there’s no worse buzz kill than a stern look or a telling off. Photoshoots can go from fun to ‘something I have to do’ in a blink of an eye. Feel free to prep them by asking ahead of time to be good listeners and promise/bribe them with a reward at the end but the best model/lead for them is for you to have fun and be relaxed at the shoot. Teamwork makes the dream work, we’ll encourage, reassure and make the whole photoshoot fun. I’ll include everyone in showing what I’m shooting and make an absolute fool of myself if needed!

Most important: Don’t worry if you’re kids are acting like a maniac or not participating. I’ve seen it all, adapted and overcame!

Prepping your partner

Prep is not just for the kids, sometimes they aren’t the only ones that drag their heels for family pictures. Plan ahead so that they know it’s coming and have time to mentally prepare for it. No one likes being surprised with something they don’t love.

Budget for it, show the price list so it’s not a shock. Let them know WHY it’s important to you. If they know it’s about preserving memories for you, and not just for a cute facebook photo, they’re more likely to value it too. Photos get more valuable with time, think of your future selves.

Give them a say in it! Most people don’t like to be told what to wear, how to sit and stand and when to do it. So ask for their opinion / advice and value it.

Just like the kids – bribe them! If they are willing to do this just for you, then let them know you appreciate it.

What to wear

Professional photoshoots don’t happen too often so please adequately prepare for this special event! It’s worth buying a new outfit, everyone feels great in new clothes and they haven’t been through the washing machine a million times so will look crisp and new.

Timeless & Comfortable Clothes. Rather than super trendy style choices, opt for something classic without any big logos or patterns.

Matchy, matchy, no, no and no! Steer clear of the traditional matching white t-shirts and jeans or clothes that match colours – it can look outdated and will take away individual personalities from your family.

Colour Coordinated. Not the same as matchy, matchy but choose a palette or shades of colours that go together well. Pastel and Neutral colours work well, as do primary colours (Red, Blue and Yellow) but it’s best to not to overload on them and perhaps use them as accent colours with some of your family members.

Generally wear well fitted clothing as although baggy or loose tops might look flattering in person, on camera they do not!

Quick note about shoes, they don’t have to be brand new but please make sure they are nice and clean. It might be worth wearing a different pair to the studio and change into the ones for the shoot when you get here.

Layering, Accessories and Jewellery. These can all look great and add visual interest to your photos, just make sure you try it before the shoot.

Ironing. Try to do this the night before the shoot.

What to Bring

  • Snacks – The good kind that don’t take ages to eat, get stuck in teeth or melt
  • Wet wipes – You just never know!
  • Backup Outfits

During The Session

Leave the cheese at home. So many times at shoots parents are screaming “Say cheese kids” through gritted teeth. Yelling / demanding kids to do this will only stress them out and will result in strained and fake smiles. Let me chat and interact with your kids and hopefully we can get in some natural smiles and laughter.

Touch is the Universal sign of affection. Please always be hugging, hanging your arm around or even just touching your family during the shoot.

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