Every photographer has their tips and tricks or words of advice for their families when planning a session. Sometimes it’s what not to wear or what to bring. Sometimes it’s the time of day or specific season. Other times, it’s how to organize the house or clean it up for the best look.
While I advise my families always, especially when they ask, on all of the above information, for me, it really comes down to 3 main things to remember.
1. PERFECTION IS NOT PRETTY.
Hear me out. I’m not talking about the perfect light or outfit or background or weather. Obviously all of those factors play a big part in how we ALL feel when we meet for a session. They can make or break our moods and turn a session that could have been really great into just another day.
What I mean is this ‘idea of perfection‘ when it comes to a family portrait doesn’t, nor should it, exist. When you look on social media all day or browse Pinterest and save the MUST HAVE POSE, I honestly feel like you are selling yourself short.
Your family is beautiful. PERIOD. The fact that you are showing up TOGETHER to document that time in your lives is beautiful. PERIOD.
Trying to copy something that has already been done is like running up an escalator going down. It takes you in the opposite direction of what could be even greater. You’ll be trying way too hard to get something that was never meant for you in the first place. The ‘perfection’ of this photo that exists in your mind is keeping you from creating your own. Don’t limit yourself to what you see online. You are unique. So should your pictures be!
So many people get caught up in how they think their photos should look vs. actually enjoying the time together making them.
When you truly let yourselves go, focus on one another, and have fun, you photos will ALWAYS be perfect.
2. SMILING CHANGES EVERYTHING.
“Well, obviously Liz. We already knew that.”
Of course we all know smiling makes a family picture better. Have you ever tried smiling at strangers vs. keeping your head down when you go places? It actually works. They smile back…most of the time. 😉
This one is more for the parents. Bear withe me parents. I know it’s a lot picking out the outfits, making sure the kids get their naps in, getting everyone out of the house on time, finding parking, figuring out the perfect bribe so everyone behaves, and then praying to GOD the kids don’t freak out during the entire shoot.
Want to know my secret tip for parents? JUST KEEP SMILING.
Your kids will see any stress and/or frustration on your face right away and most likely copy it vs. listening to the photographer lady. Your kids will feed off of your energy always, no matter how crazy and silly Liz is being behind the camera. 😉
They will look to YOU when they are teeter tottering on the line of wanting to laugh and smile vs. cry and run away. So many times I’ve quietly reminded a mom or dad out there to ‘remember to keep smiling the entire time‘, when they were obviously annoyed with a mini temper tantrum their kid was having. Or instead of sitting still, their kid wants to run around everywhere. Or instead of smiling at their spouse and taking it all in, they are so focused on if their kid is looking at the camera or not.
B R E A T H E.
Remember to breathe and enjoy the kid BEING A KID, even if it means they choose to do whatever feels best in that moment…climbing trees, dancing, laying down, and yes, even crying.
Let them run around. I’ll go run with them! Some of those photos are the absolute best and get more genuine smiles that any sitting pose ever.
Smile and enjoy the fact that while your photographer is running around with your kid, you could actually get a moment to sit and BE with your spouse for a little while alone, uninterrupted!
And a lot of times, YOU’LL BE IN THE BACKGROUND. I can Photoshop a lot of things, but a blank stare or annoyed scowl isn’t making any ‘#EGPfam favorite image list’ any time soon. 😉
Smile knowing that I’ve done this many, MANY times before. Trust me when I tell you your family is great at pictures! Let yourself believe that and you will instantly have more fun.
3. Ask yourself why you are getting these photos in the first place.
And I hope the answer isn’t “Well my spouse paid for a session so I have to be here.” 😉
Kids grow up FAST! I’ve witnessed it. I’ve photographed so many of the same families year after year and watched as one baby turns 6, or they go from being the only child to the oldest of 5. It’s amazing watching them just as the family photographer. I can’t imagine the feeling as you watch them grow as their parents.
So why get these photos year after year? I hope it’s because we all want to remember. We all want our lives to be documented where the phones are down, the tv is off, and we are outside having an adventure. Or we are home snuggling on the couch with the family dog.
We want to experience moments more TOGETHER. And how beautiful to be able to get it permanently documented?!
I hope that when my families meet up with me each time, they are ready to let the wind take us where it may! HA! But seriously, I want you all to go into your sessions with less expectation and more realization. That we realize this day and this time and these moments won’t happen again.
Will every image be perfect? It depends on what perfection means to you. And after reading this, I hope your version of perfection is the IMPERFECTLY beautiful chaos that is FAMILY. <3
HUGS to all my #EGPfam families out there!