I am often asked by my clients what they should do to prepare for their upcoming family session. Communication and preparation is key to a successful portrait session. As a lifestyle photographer, my goal is to document your family in a natural and organic way, only I guide you to create beautiful images.
Before our session, I talk to my clients about what they can expect. I send them an FAQ on how I run my sessions and I ask a few simple questions that help me get to know them (if I don’t already from prior sessions!). My clients also receive a Family Prep Guide that outlines what they can do to prepare and what they can expect. So, I thought I would outline a few of those tips here for those of you considering a lifestyle session in the near future 🙂
1. The #1 question I get is “What do I wear?”! Let’s face it: clothing matters. You want to look AND feel great during your session. Dress in a way that best reflects your true style (photo sessions are not the time to experiment with the new latest look if it’s not something you normally do!). Please do not have the family wear all matching outfits – you want to coordinate colors and let you be the focus. Most importantly, let your kids be themselves – if your daughter doesn’t like having a bow in her hair, don’t put one in. She’ll just rip it out during the session. I offer my clients styling advice and help with getting those outfits sorted out.
2. Talk to your photographer about what you have in mind. What do you want to do with the resulting pictures? Do you want them for a gallery wall in your family room? Do you want them for a cool coffee table album? Surely you don’t intend to have them sitting on your computer, right?? I offer fine art prints, gallery advice, and high resolution digital images to my clients. I even offer social media sized downloads of my client’s order for free when they purchase a collection so they don’t need to worry about having the right size for those key Instagram and Facebook posts. Letting your photographer know what you want to do with your images is important. You should also tell your photographer what images you most want to capture. Communication (and awesome photography!) produces the best results.
3. Eat and rest. Make sure you and the kids rest and eat BEFORE the session. Snacking during the session, or having your child cry because she’s hungry does not make for good pictures. And let’s get real, you wouldn’t want the bag of cheerios to be the star of your pictures.
4. Trust your photographer to guide you. During my sessions I take control and guide my clients into situations or “poses” and I will let the kids know if something is or isn’t working. I make sure my clients can relax. I often guide my families into poses right at the beginning and then let the kids just be.
5. Leave stress out of the session. So many parents worry that their children aren’t smiling at the camera, or are running around playing. Guess what? It’s OK. Some of the best pictures are of kids and families natural and relaxed. Remember that it can backfire if children are told to pose or smile, and they can sense when parents are frustrated. Trust me. Most of the images of children on my site are when they were running around with me close by to capture the moment.
6. Have fun! I end with my main tip – FUN! Make sure you enjoy your session with your photographer. It should be a special outing with the family. The way I run my sessions is laid back and fun. No pressure, no stress. I am there to document my families and provide them with lifestyle works of art they can just gush over for years to come. And then recommend they go out for some ice cream 🙂
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments. I am happy to answer!