Preparing your family for your session will help everyone relax and know what to expect. Here are some tips to help your family get ready for your session.
Fill out your questionnaire to help me learn about your family. Tell me about your kids-their personality, their interests, whatever makes them light up. What are your favorite ways to bond with your family. What everyday things do you adore about your kids and spouse. I want to tell your family's story in your photos.
Leading up to the session, talk to your kids about it! Tell them you are doing photos with a friend. Show them my images on my website. Show them the “about me” page so they have seen my face. Tell them it will be fun and that we will be doing plenty of snuggling, playing, and laughing. Stay away from bribing. Bribing will send the message that this is going to be an experience they will need to tolerate, not enjoy. They’ll also be focused on ending the session to get their “treat”. We want to make this a good memory, not just a photo shoot. Going for ice cream or out to dinner after the session can be part of that, but it shouldn’t be conditional. Make it just a great end to a fun day.
On session day, try to keep the photo shoot the biggest event of the day. Running between sport events or birthday parties all day will make for a worn out, tired family. Take it easy before your session and give your kids a chance to take a good nap so they are well rested. Give your kiddos a good, full meal at home before heading to your session.
At the session, I will meet you in the parking lot. I’ll introduce myself to each family member and will engage with them to help them get comfortable with me. We will chat while we walk to the site.
Parents, my expectations of your kids are minimal. I want your kids to be themselves and have a great experience. If your child is shy, I will absolutely let them be shy. If they want to be silly, please, let them be silly! If your baby doesn’t want to leave your arms, no problem! I can get an entire gallery with tons of variety without making that kiddo leave your arms. Whatever they bring to the session, we will capture it. It’s part of them, it’s part of their story.
Yelling, threatening, and bribing are the quickest ways to break a session. I expect your kids to come as they are. Whatever age, mood, or personality, bring it! Let your kids be kids.
Try to limit what you bring to with us to the location site. Toys are usually unnecessary since kids are usually pretty entertained being outside and playing with you. If your child may need a snack, choose something dry and easy to munch on so we can keep their hands and faces clean. Cheerios, small crackers, and toddler puffs make great session snacks. Water is a great choice since it wont stain your kids clothes if they spill. If your toddler will want to hold their water bottle or snack throughout the session, you may want to wait as long as possible before bringing those things out.
Leave purses, wallets, sunglasses, etc in the car. Check your wrists for hair ties and fitness trackers. Take phones and wallets out of your pockets since they will leave a square shape through your pockets. Keys can go in my camera bag. I will keep shooting as we walk from place to place during your session, so the less we need to carry from spot to spot the better.
Remember, we are going for connection, not perfection. This isn't a "say cheese" moment. This is our chance to capture those everyday interactions. The casual kitchen hug with your spouse, the way you stroke your kids hair, the sloppy kisses your baby gives you, those tiny dimples on your toddler's hands. Those little things that fill your soul are what we want to capture. Take a deep breath and just be together.