Stress of Family Photos
The best family sessions are when we do activities such as playing in the garden, playing at the park, jumping in the ocean, riding horses, or kayaking (just to name a few). We want the essence of your family to shine through and be memories you can look back on later in life. Life goes by so fast and it's so important to document every day life as you live it. That being said, when we do activities and more "day in the life" sessions, I always make sure we get some smiling and more posed images. During the day you might get really stressed that the kids aren't smiling or running around or messing up their outfit—I know it's not easy, but try and keep your cool. The more relaxed you are, the smoother the shoot will go because the kids feed off your energy and it will come through on the photos if you're stressed.
If you are thinking about what to dress the family in, think in threes. What always looks great are 3 different colors that compliment each other like red, blue and grey or maroon, white, and gold. Often someone will do a pattern while the rest of the group is more in solids. Keep it simple with this one—try not to over think it!
Often I try and shake it up while we're doing photos. We want to make sure you seem natural and not posed. It's a stressful situation being in front of a camera and I understand that so sometimes it's great to start off with silly faces and jump into smiles, tickle your son in for a second and it cracks up the whole group. Remember that not every photo has to be big posed smiles so take a second while we're shooting to chat with everyone. I tell people to have 2 talking topics in their head to chat with the kids about—that way people aren't so focused on the stress of the camera.
Remember that these are YOUR photos and memories and family. When it comes to location and poses, my favorite are locations that are meaningful to you and following your family as you do your favorite hobbies and activities with a mixture of candid and posed. For example, one family brought me to their beach house to document the kids playing in the sand and racing into the water. You better believe I jumped in the water with those kiddos and was right there when they came body-surfing down. Those are the photos that you're going to be flipping through when the kids are older and smiling ear to ear. After those photos, the family got ready and we did more formal photos for the mantle and christmas cards. Win, win!