Choose the best time of day for your family

When photographing kids and their families, I am often asked the best time of day to schedule our session. The hour before sunset is typically the most beautiful because of the lighting but I understand that young kids may have an earlier bed time. I typically try to avoid harsh mid-day lighting when outside but I always find a way to work around that. Parks with lots of shade work wonders! The biggest piece of advice I can give is to plan around your kids nap times. Morning or afternoon sessions can be beautiful and we can find a location that offers open shade. Arriving to the location early is important because if your kids do happen to fall asleep in the car, arriving early will give them time to acclimate to the new surroundings before the session begins. When kids are well rested, they will definitely have more fun and we will catch those genuine smiles!

Snacks, Snacks and More Snacks!!!

Who doesn't love a good snack? I do have a few tips on the do's and don'ts of snacking. Experience has taught me a lot these past few years! I highly recommend ones that will not make a mess on their beautiful outfits! I do carry wipes with me for those "just in case moments" but I encourage you to steer clear of anything that melts or that will get stuck in teeth like M&Ms or skittles.

Here are some ideas for great snacks:

goldfish crackers, club crackers, animal crackers, gummies and small pieces of fruit are great to use a bribe for the session. If you've ever heard me talk about my own family sessions with my kids, I am NOT beyond a good bribe!

Another tip that I've found helpful is use the snacks sparingly. If you hand them out after every few poses, they will last the session time and it entices the kiddos to cooperate when they know that there is something to look forward to.

Talk to them before the session...

Let your kids know beforehand that you are having family photos done as something memorable as a family. Have the conversation a few times and really make it sound like fun! Let them know that while we will do some "posed" photos, there will be lots of time for fun and laughs. From a kid's perspective, family photos may not sound like much fun but let them know that I will show them the back of my camera so they can see what they look like. Remind them that THEY can tell me what poses they would like to do near the end of the session and we will do some fun things and have time to explore and be themselves!

If you really want to add something to look forward to after the session, plan something fun like stopping for ice cream, a movie or a special dinner.

Let them bring their favorite toy...

Before you cringe at the thought of your kids' favorite "stuffie" joining the family for photos, hear me out. A favorite toy can be a great sense of comfort when around new people or surroundings. I encourage their favorite friends to join them for a few photos then I offer to hold the toy while I take pictures so that it helps to entertain the kids as well! Some day that toy will be a thing of the past and you may want to look back on the well loved toy as a wonderful memory. I've gotten pretty good at being creative over the years by playing hide and seek with their favorite "friends" to get a few smiles. I'm also not opposed to singing, dancing and jumping around too! Whatever it takes to get those smiles!!

Keep it fun!!

This should be the number one thing to keep in mind!! I totally understand that planning a family photo shoot can be very stressful. It's so much more than just showing up on the session day and getting great pictures. Time goes into planning the date, time, location, and the outfits just to name a few. When you book with me, all of that stress is taken away because I help you EVERY step of the way!

On the day of your session, I remind the parents to HAVE FUN and keep it lighthearted! Kids can sense stress a mile away and will pick up on those emotions. So we want to keep it as lighthearted as possible even if you think that things aren't going as you hoped. If your little one doesn't want to smile or heaven forbid falls in the mud, we will still have a great time! Sometimes the unplanned moments make for the BEST images in the end! I have a specific list of must-get photos and there is time in there for breakouts of different groups so that little ones can have a break. We will run, jump, or dance our way into a good time!

These are just a few tips to help you prep for a fantastic photo session!! If you have any questions, always feel free to contact me with questions!

If you missed last month's blog post on "What to Wear" you can see it below!