Okay, so if you've met me, you probably know that I am not short on words. For the sake of brevity, I managed to narrow these tips down to my top five but rest assured, there's plenty more what that came from. I promised to be brief so, I hele* on.
Tip 1- Take the Day Off
Pick a date and time that is free from work or appointments that might cause stress or close timing. Trust me, you don't want to be running around at the last minute trying to pull everyone together and make it in time. Professional Family Portraits are an investment. Taking the time to style and prepare will continue to payoff. Not only will you and your family feel more calm and confident, you will also enjoy the final product more. I recommend hiring professional hair and makeup services if you feel that it will help lighten your load.
Tip 2- Skip the Bribes, Make it an event!
Now don't get me wrong. I have ZERO judgement for parents and their tactics to solicit desirable behavior from their children. NONE, Whatsoever! My experience however, has taught me more effective ways to get those beautiful giggles and smiles for your photos. Instead of asking them to do you this favor, make it a fun family event! This looks like " today, we are all going to go as a family and take pictures together. We will get to play and we will listen to the photographer who is going to show us all what to do. Afterwards, we're all going together for dinner/ice cream (whatever works best for your situation.)
Tip 3- Don't Tell Them to Smile
What's the first thing your kiddo does when you ask them to smile? That's right! You will likely get an ear to ear grin, laced with a hint of terror. I've seen it many times. Part of my value as a family photographer is my professional level of silliness. I'm not too shy to break out a booger joke or use reverse psychology. Whatever it take, I've got it covered. So take advantage of this break from constant parenting and allow me to make some magic.
Tip 4- Wear What Feels Good
Okay, I'm sure ready for some more practical info so here it is...wear what you feel good in. I will make another entire post about actual color/pattern/style suggestions. For this post, I'll keep it simple. after you try on an outfit, walk to the mirror. Did you suck, tuck or fidget? If so, this isn't the one. The camera catches everything and you will lose a lot of great shots because someone was pulling up their pants, or down a shirt or trying to hide a love-handle. While we often do these things without noticing them, they can easily show up in tons of photos and potentially ruin your session.
Tip 5- SNACKS
I am not hating on any particular food when I say this, don't sugar up your kids before the session. On the way to your session, give the kiddos a snack that will sustain them until the next meal. Cheese and crackers or milk and fruit are both great ideas. You want to balance them with a protein and carb so that their sugar doesn't tank or spike. Both of which are a recipe for meltdowns. I know its tempting to bring a snack for the session as well. I don't recommend this for kids beyond the toddler age. It tends to distract and slow them down. Instead bring them fed and I will keep it moving smoothly so that they get to their next meal on time.