Creating the Perfect Family Session | A Letter From Your Photographer

As some of you may know, I am a photographer. I make my little living photographing families and children, spending my evenings and weekends capturing those special little moments that all of us mammas want documented to hold on to forever. It’s a pretty amazing job, if I do say so myself. 

Right now, you can find most of us in the midst of scheduling fall sessions. Filling up our calendars from the months of August to November. Dreading the blur that the busy season will be over the next few months all while giddy at the thought of creating something special for the families to come. And with that comes questions like “What should we wear?” or “Can we create this type of setting?” BUT what I find that isn’t discussed too often is how incredibly awkward this session will be. Yep. Awkward. But not awkward for me. Awkward as in “I’m going to throw you in front of my camera for an hour and you’re going to be candid and pretend this stranger isn’t here. Oh and you’re going to really need to ham it up for me. All in this hour. All in front of me.” Awkward, right? 

Yesterday I found myself in your shoes. I was the client for once. And boy was it an experience. So I’m here to do what any resourceful mamma would do, I’m here to help! 

I’m not going to lie to you and say that I wasn’t a bundle of nerves leading up to this session. While clothing choices, schedules, naps, cranky car rides aren’t already taxing enough … add in the fact that I had never been on this side of the camera since becoming a photographer six years ago (yes, it’s been THAT long since we have had professional photos done #photogprobz). It all was just overwhelming. So from that experience, I have a few tips for you as the client. Just a few tidbits to prep you for your session and help you feel more comfortable with what’s to come, all (hopefully) resulting in some magic created during your session.

We are BFF’s!  

I know that we actually aren’t but walk into that session like you’ve known this girl for evs! The most magic created at my sessions are those who open up to me and let me in. As your photographer, I’m going to greet you with a big smile and you’re probably going to wonder who the heck this chick is, but it’s truly the key to starting that friendship that’s going to ensue over the next hour. The one that’s going to grab the magic for you and your fam.

Get to know your photographer.

If the above isn’t necessarily your jam, take some time beforehand to chat here and there with your photographer. Invest a little time for some small talk to open that door of communication. You’ll need it the day of, promise.

Lower your expectations.

This one sounds a little harsh to me, but this one is one hundred percent from my personal experience yesterday. I had these GRAND plans of these photos and how perfect they were going to be. And by the end of our session was convinced it was a waste. My kids were bonkers, Matty had taken a chest deep plunge into the water, Blaison kept walking in front of everyone … I’m pretty sure I looked like an oompa loompa. Disaster in my eyes. BUT all I wanted was one family photo. My one and only hope was for ONE. After realizing that was all I really was expecting I was content with it and confident that we had to have at least that. Spoiler alert: they turned out beyond amazing, and we ended up with more photos than I could have ever imagined. And on that note, as a photographer, my happiest of clients are the ones that really weren’t expecting much from their session.

Little disasters are OK!

Kids are unpredictable. They trip, they fall, they spill things on their clothes ten minutes before the session … the run face first into the lake and wet three quarters of their entire bodies (#truestory from yesterday). It’s ok. While a soaking wet babe isn’t necessarily what we envisioned for this day, embrace it. Doing otherwise is just going to ruin it for you and you’ll definitely be able to tell in the final product. Instead, you’ll be able to look back and giggle at the memory of that baby boy-ing too hard and taking that water on like a champ 😉

Communicate, communicate, communicate!

Remember earlier when I said you’d need that door opened? You know what you want out of these photos. Mainly family? Lots of siblings? Updated shots of you and your hubby because the last photos you have together are from your wedding? Let your photographer know. She wants these to fulfill you and knowing what you’re wanting out of your session will play a huge part in your end result. I always tell my clients “You don’t want to leave a session wishing you’d gotten a certain shot.” So be open with her, she will appreciate it more than you know!

Go with the flow.

Just relax. Let your littles be little and your husband be silly with them. Don’t stress about your hair or your makeup messing up. Don’t overthink the smallest of details. Because as your photographer, I’m going to let you in on something: The smallest of thoughts come through our faces. Stressing about hair that is out of place or a grass stain on pants will absolutely show in the expression on our faces. 

Pep talk your husbands.

Sorry dads but the struggle is REAL! Let’s just say, I’ve photographed A LOT of dads and I know for. a. fact. that this is one of the weirdest things for y’all. A quick little run down of this and what to expect out of your husband will do a world of wonders. Trust me on this one, not all photogs have the “concentrated dad face radar.”

Get lost in the moment.

If you take anything from this post, take this one. Fold it up and stick it your back pocket. It’ll come in handy and really do you some good during your session. During your session, pretend your photographer isn’t there at times. Snuggle with your babes and get lost in a kiss with your husband. The love shared between families shines when they are loving like no one is watching. 

SO! There ya go! I really hope this helps anyone gearing up for family photos this holiday season.

Have any questions?! I’m here to help!

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