Updated: Jan 19
When it comes to getting professional photographs made of your family, there can be a lot of stress. You know your kids better than anyone else, and you know that when the chips are down, the odds are there's going to come a moment where they just can't keep their composure. They're going to get tired, distracted, hungry, or altogether defiant.
And so, even though you're excited about the opportunity to make this moment a memorable one, you're also holding onto that little bit of dread that everything will go wrong, and your best efforts will be for nothing.
The good news is, you're not the only one to have ever felt this way. Plenty of families have gone through this same process, and despite what you might think, your worst fears are a part of the process.
Here are 11 of the most inspiring tips we could think of to not only help you get the best photographs possible but to also move past those fears you have.
We promise, even when things seem to be going awry, a great photographer will know what they're doing and how to handle the situation.
So, here's everything you need to know before getting professional family photographs with young children:
1. Be Flexible
When it comes to photographing young children, everything becomes dynamic. The more constraints placed on the photoshoot, the harder it'll be to get what you want-evocative images that'll last a lifetime.
2. Stay Focused
Adults, during your session, keep your eyes directed at the camera as much as possible. Although your kids are prone to distraction and stubbornness, a good photographer will have the patience necessary to "get the shot," and the more reliably you can adhere to looking at the camera, the easier it'll be for everyone which, in turn, will get you better results in a shorter amount of time.
3. Get Comfortable
So much of photographing people is about capturing personality and emotion, and when everyone is comfortable, those essential characteristics are allowed to shine through. Getting comfortable means a few different things:
Wearing clothing that is suitable for the environment you're going to be photographing in is vital. The right attire goes a long way toward making everyone as happy as possible for as long as possible, which is desirable for everyone and your photographs.
Getting comfortable also means relaxing. This can be easier said than done since there's a lot of pressure to get everything "just right," but being stiff and uncomfortable won't help things out, so take a minute to relax.
Get to know your photographer. There is a strong relationship going on between you, your photographer, and their camera, and the more comfortable everyone feels, the better the images will be.
4. Don't Rush
If your goal is to finish as fast as possible, it's going to be challenging to relax. Slow down, take a deep breath, and remember that despite all of life's demands, you want to capture this moment in time for a reason. Relish this time away from everyday life. After it's all over, you can go back to rushing around to accomplish everything on your to-do list.
5. Give Your Kids Time
When it comes to family photographs, there's a lot of pressure on kids to be on their best behavior. This expectation often does not account for all the demands leading up to the photoshoot. There's the going to bed on time, getting dressed, eating, and traveling. On top of all that, there's an expectation of holding still and smiling.
Giving your kids time to relax, run around and play, and even have a meltdown or two, will get better results than demanding the best from them every moment of the photoshoot. The younger they are, the more breaks and the more play they're going to need.
Your photographer, if you've chosen well, will understand this and be accommodating.
6. Give Yourselves Time
Adults, as much as is possible, give yourselves the time you need as well. This can mean different things to different people, but overall if you think it's going to take you 45 minutes to get ready, give yourselves an hour. If the drive is 20 minutes, give yourselves 30 minutes. It is also best to not have an appointment of any sort immediately following your photo shoot.
Little actions like this will reduce stress for everyone, which is always desirable for your images.
7. Give Your Photographer Time
One other note on time; your photographer needs time to do their job correctly. Booking the shortest session possible in an attempt to save money will result in either fewer quality images or a larger quantity of lower quality images. If you can afford it, spend a little extra to maximize the possibility of multiple high-quality photos. You'll thank yourself later.
8. Trust Your Photographer
It is a truism that photographers look at the world differently. They've trained themselves to do so, and it's safe to assume that you chose your photographer for certain qualities you valued. Trust their instincts, they are quite likely seeing something you're not.
On the other hand, don't be afraid to speak up when you feel something isn't working. At the end of the day, you're the customer and, although that doesn't always make you right, a great photographer will take what you have to say into consideration and, where necessary, provide guidance or explain themselves.
The better you can tell your photographer what you're looking for, the odds of getting what you desire goes up dramatically.
10. Rest Up
As a parent, it can be hard to get good sleep, but, if at all possible, make sure you go to sleep on time for a night or two leading up to your session. That'll help make sure you're looking your best during your photo session.
11. Have a Back-Up Plan
On the day of the photoshoot, anything that can go wrong might go wrong. Having a back-up plan with your photographer will reduce stress and avoid misconceptions. The last thing anyone wants is hard feelings because of unforeseen consequences interfering with what was supposed to be a fun day.
We didn't put it on the list because, in our opinion, it goes without saying, but we'll say it here:
Above all else, having fun during your session is always a great idea. As much as you want great photographs, you also want a great experience. The whole event should be fun for everyone and, when it is, you'll be able to look back on this time in your life with fond memories, and who doesn't want that?