A family photo session can be fun - it really can. Dads, you don't have to dread the day, and moms, you don't have to worry about the kids misbehaving and wasting money on a photographer. Read on for 5 ways to help ensure you get photos you'll love:
1) Do not expect or attempt perfection. Families who realize that goofy smiles and bad moods make good stories at the rehearsal dinner are more relaxed, have more fun, and in turn generally get better pictures.
2) Think about ways to make your kids laugh. Most parents know how to get their kids to laugh. As the photographer, there's only so much I can do, and it usually isn't physical. Kids LOVE physical. Gentle rough-housing, throwing them in the air, bouncing on the knee etc. work 95% of the time, and only YOU can do it. The camera will be ready to capture the happy expression just as the moment ends with everyone in a decently posed position, so don't be afraid to let loose.
3) Have well-rested, full-bellied kids. Obvious, but it deserves a mention. However, sometimes this isn't possible, so...
4) Choose the least 'moody' time of day. If the hour before sunset is the witching hour at your house, perhaps a morning shoot will work better. Both sun-up and sunset have lovely 'golden' light, leading to what many consider the best family pictures.
5) Ask about a Do-Over. In the end, if it all goes askew and a child just won't co-operate, a re-do is possible. Let the photographer know that if they don't find the material they need during editing, you're open to meeting them at a convenient time and place to try again.
Most of the time, good pictures are created even if things didn't go as planned, and you'll be pleasantly surprised. But I've done re-do's twice, and both times I worked in another short session when I was already onsite, at no charge to the client. I had what I needed within 5 minutes, as the problem child turned up full of smiles and ready to engage.
Notice none of the tips involve location or wardrobe. It's all about attitude. Approach the session as a time to focus on having fun with the kids, with lots of laughter and playing. All is not lost if everything doesn't go the way you anticipated, so relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and downtime with family.