I've been photographing family + children sessions for over five years now. I've noticed some patterns + a few things I think we can implement into your child's session that will set the perfect tone and give you guys the shots your hearts desire. Trust me y'all! I know it can be challenging and that some of you even dread it. I have been on the other side of a camera many, many times with my cray kids! lol I have to remind myself, just stay calm, whatever happens, happens. This is how my family is! Through trusting my photographer and trying to stay as chill as possible our sessions have always looked natural and fabulous! :) Even if in my mind it feels nuts.
Setting the tone. I'm just gonna jump right in. . .I love it when parents don't do a lot of talking. Eek. I hope this isn't too harsh. I love getting sweet little candid shots of your children looking around their environment in awe and it's how I get a lot of those fabulous side profile shots. LOVE! I know you guys want those perfect shots of your child looking directly into my lens with their gorgeous toothy (or toothless) smiles - believe me, I want those too! It's always a goal of mine to make that happen. But first, I need to earn your child's attention. Letting them be for a moment to acclimate and get used to my voice and my directions is important. Some times this means, you will need to just walk away. So, some advice to parents: please don't talk to your children (especially not in a negative way) while I'm working with them - unless of course you see they are miss behaving in some way that is totally inappropriate. Even then I feel like I can handle it (I have TWO of my own. lol) I've noticed when parents start reprimanding their children during our session it only gets them in a worse mood. :( And if we only have 20-30 minutes together, I say just let them be the wild child!
Dressing for sessions. With Pinterest at our disposal, I think it's much easier to get ideas for your outfits. It's def helped me out on many occasions. Neutrals are so fabulous and simple. Think creams, khakis, grays, light browns. Pastels have my heart! <3. Especially for the spring. Bold colors are super fun too! Rich jewel tones like navy blue, turquoise, ruby red - so gorge. A color that I don't recommend is hot pink (like florescent pink). It always seems to photograph so weird. Knowing these color palates will help when you start putting together multiple outfits for your family. The goal is to coordinate, not for everyone to match perfectly. Mix it up! Not everyone has to wear a solid color. Mix in patterns and florals with your solid colors and bam - you are picture perfect.
I love, love, love getting my girl's all dolled up for sessions. Here are some places I have found outfits. Lollipops Children's Boutique is located in downtown Monroe, Georgia. This is where I found RyAnne's dress she is wearing for this session. They carry boys clothes too! DollCake.com is an online boutique that has some of the most gorgeous, elaborate dresses and accessories for little girls. 3claps.com is another online boutique that has super cute clothing for girls and accessories as well. Old Navy + Gap have fabulous coordinating outfits for family sessions. Just take a peek at their mannequins if you are having trouble putting together an outfit. ;) Keep in mind when ordering outfits online that you give yourself plenty of time for them to arrive well before our session and you have time if you need to exchange for a different size. For parents of little boys, I wish I had more suggestions. If you guys would like to share where you find your cute little guy outfits please leave your suggestions in the comments box below - Thank you!
Makeup. Ladies, when doing your makeup for your session, I recommend going a little heavier than you typically do. It will show up better in your photographs. :) Don't forget to bring that lip color! Depending on how much time we have together you might need to touch it up a bit during our shoot.
Locations. Unless, I am hosting mini sessions in a central location, I always ask that my clients pick their own locations. How awkward would it be if you asked me to pick your location, your family shows up and it's not what you had in mind. . .I would be embarrassed. When considering your location, think about this - Do I want a city-scape, a field, a forrest (aka the woods), a local carnival, a state park, a lake, my backyard? There are so many more options! This is why I love when my clients pick their own locations. You make your session that much more perfect and unique to your family.
Snacks, food, juice - Bribery! I'm not opposed to any of these. lol Please make sure your child has had a full meal before arriving to our session and a clean diaper (if they wear them). This can help with mood. The last thing we want is a hangry child. :( Bribery isn't off the table. at. all! I do it often with parents consent. I have been known to console a child with a lollipop or two or just a bag of them. Whatever it takes. lol
I sure hope this post has been helpful for any upcoming sessions we may have together or just your future of sessions in general. With some pre-planning we can make it happen! If I'm missing something or you have any questions - leave me a message in the comment box! ;)