I’m a mom, I get it… the thought of keeping little kids awake past their bedtime can downright terrifying but as a family photographer, gotta tell you - it’s so worth it! Having your session at sunset gives you the best lighting for amazing wall art worthy portraiture. So, I’ve put together some tips to help!
Breathe and relax…
Preparing for a portrait session can sometimes feel stressful and your child will pick up on that energy. Nothing spoils a child’s mood faster than stress and too much planning… I know it’s tempting to get caught up in the perfect Pinterest photos, but the best images happen spontaneously because of your unique family relationships. When we’re not working off a checklist, we’ll have more time to create organic images that you’ll love.
Move bedtime later or push naps later than usual
If your child usually goes to sleep earlier than sunset, you could try moving their bedtime later gradually throughout the week before your session. Then gradually move it back afterwards. Along the same lines, you can try to keep your child awake a bit longer than normal on your photo session day in hopes that they will be happier later in the evening.
Make sure everyone has a full stomach
Hungry kids are not happy kids. Make sure everyone eats dinner a couple hours before your family photo session. You can also bring some non-messy snacks like grapes or apple slices in case someone gets hungry again. Everyone will be more focused and have more energy.
Dress the kids appropriately for the weather & make sure they’re comfortable
It’s hard to be happy and smile when your cold or hot and your clothes are itchy. I always suggest layers. Not only do they look great but they can easily be added or removed as needed to keep little ones happy and comfy.
Never underestimate the power of a good bribe!
A non-messy snack or a favorite toy, stuffed animal, or blanket but don’t let your child know about it or see it. Then if the time comes that you’ve tried everything and they still aren’t happy, you can give it to them. Usually, this item is not even needed, but it’s good to have just in case.
Focus on the LOVE...
It may sound cliché but after all, your love for your family is probably the reason you wanted family photos in the first place!
In the end, it’s not about the clothes you wore or how much you weighed… it’s about capturing what life in like now. It’s about the snuggling, tickles and playing. It’s about showing your children how much you love them so that they have these memories in 20 years.
Let go & Trust...
on the day of your session, it’s normal to be nervous (it means you care!) But the best way to love your portraits is to let go of those nerves and trust the process. Know that you’ve planned and prepared to the best of your ability, and now I’m here to take the reins and create family portraits that you’ll love. For a little while, you don’t have to be the one to make all the decisions… enjoy it!
Don’t be afraid to give the kids a hug or give your wife a sweet kiss on the cheek. Tell your husband how much you love him and appreciate him. The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other.
Hire a family photographer who goes with the flow…
In my opinion, it’s rare to find a toddler who will want to sit and smile with their family for more than…10 seconds.
Toddlers want to run, laugh, chase, and explore. This is why I use what I call a relaxed, posed-play approach to my sessions. I will continually try new games and activities to entice them into giving me a second of a smile. This allows for a mixture of posed and candid family portraits that capture genuine connections and interactions within your family.