There was an Instagram post making the rounds last week that featured a photo of a beautiful family sitting blissfully in a field, and the caption underneath said: “What actually went down: 14 trips to Old Navy, SO . MUCH . SWEATING. A super-annoyed spouse. Children losing their freaking minds. and mom swearing like Samuel L. Jackson in pretty much any movie.” There were over 22,000 reactions, and it was rather hilarious because it was so relatable! Everyone wants beautiful family photos, but let’s face it, its a lot of work! We know that and recognize that, so one of the things we try to our hardest to do is to make it fun! Actually, we have a saying:
Rule #1, its gotta be fun, because you know what?
You will remember how you felt when the photographs were being made.
It is beside the point to have a gorgeous photo of your family hanging on the wall, and every time you gaze upon it, you think, “dang that day was miserable!” The whole point of capturing photos of your family is to save and relive the memories!! So let’s try to break it down to see what might make the experience a little more enjoyable!
First off, try to understand that stressing about the photoshoot will only makes it worse, thus creating a vicious circle! Instead, try to find a photographer that is going to take some of the stress off of you, and trust their professional judgment. When we are working with a family to plan their session, we will ask questions to help us find the best spot for their shoot based on the family’s personality and hobbies. Often the first question I ask is, “what do you guys do for fun as a family?” If you tell me you like bowling, we’ll go to Rock N’ Bowl. Tell me you like boating, we’ll plan something around your boat. See where I’m going with this? This should be fun!! Basically we will plan to make the shoot as personal to your family experience as possible. Often shooting at the family home is about as personal as it gets! In and around New Orleans, we often default to the French Quarter, or one of the many parks, including City Park, Audubon Park and the Zoo. Letting your photographer guide you as to the best spots for your family, and trusting their judgment on the best time of day to capture the best lighting, or knowing when there might be crowds, is invaluable in taking a big chunk of the stress off of you!
Dress like you’re all going to the same party!
Once you decide on a place for your shoot, finding outfits for the whole family can be nerve-wracking. Getting everyone’s outfits coordinated will definitely have a big influence on the final outlook of the shoot. Something to keep in mind, and even more important than making sure what colors are being worn, is that everyone looks like they are going to the same party. It can be a dressy party, or a casual party, but it needs to look like the same party!
I always advise that the mom (who is about 90% of the time the one doing the planning) should find an outfit that makes her feel beautiful and comfortable and it should be her best color. Once you have that outfit in place, coordinate the rest of the family around that color. Now you have a game plan and you can head out to Old Navy with your color palette in mind. Have fun mixing and matching patterns and textures with your chosen color to add visual interest to your images! And don’t forget to shop your family’s closet first to see what pieces are already in your house! You might be pleasantly surprised!
Try to just let them be …
OK, you’ve made it through choosing a location and you have your outfits planned. Woohoo, congratulations! You’ve tackled some of the hardest parts and now you just have to show up and have fun! Aaaaannnnnd, your kids suddenly become uncooperative! This is the part where trying not to stress is really important. Threatening the kids with lost privileges or (_______ fill in the blank with how you threaten your kids) only makes them dig their heels in and become more pouty. We have a whole arsenal of games and activities (and Steve has a few jokes) that have gotten really good results. Sometimes, depending on the age of the children, they just need to warm up. Sometimes teenagers just need to be reminded how important these photos are to mom. Sometimes the one misbehaving is a super annoyed Dad who doesn’t want to be in the photos. Its OK … he only has to be in a few and we’ll let him sit it out and listen to his football game (or go to the cooler for a cocktail!)
The most important takeaway here is that giving the family room to be who they are naturally is what’s most important, and ultimately will keep things low key and fun! And every time you look at that photo we made that is hanging on your wall you will remember the love you shared and the FUN times you shared together!
Want to find out more information on how to schedule your family session?
Just fill in the contact form below and we’ll send you the scoop on how to get started!!