Stop Apologising – Seriously, I wont be offended if your toddler tells me “no” when I ask him to do something or I get an angry face flung in my direction. They have just been taken away from their normal routine, probably put in clothes they didn’t want to wear & now have to listen to a strange lady and smile. I know that they are not usually like this and you don’t need to keep apologising for their behaviour as they do the opposite to what I ask. Just try to relax and let it happen. If they see you laughing and happy, they will be too.
Speak Up – I am thinking of a million things during our shoot: light, locations, games, poses, camera stuff. So if there is something that you would like to do or try, then please tell me your ideas. I always ask the kids where they would like to have their photo taken to build rapport with them and to let them have some say in the process, but sometimes I will forget to ask you. You’ll regret it later if you don’t tell me – so please speak up.
Be Comfortable – It can be awkward enough in front of the camera, so the last thing you want to do is wear uncomfortable clothing. Now, but saying to wear comfortable clothing doesn’t mean that you turn up in your favourite house pants and cardigan. You want to wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. One rule I always remember from a trainer at a call-centre job I had was “if you have to keep pulling it up or pulling it down, then don’t wear it!” Same goes for your family shoot. If it is too small or too large and even if it is in you favourite colour, DON’T wear it. As most of my shoots tend to be outside and in the evening, don’t forgot to layer up. It will give you a few different looks thorough out the shoot and as it cools down, you’ll have something to wear. This goes for your kids also. they need to be and feel comfortable in their clothes so that they will be comfortable with me.
Don’t Compare – By the time our shoot comes, you may have spent hours online looking at family photos in the hope of re-creating them. While it does help me to understand what you like & don’t like, it has the downside of giving you unrealistic expectations. You don’t want to be an exact replica of a photo you found online – you want it to be YOUR family. Good posing is a great foundation to awesome photographs, but it is the interaction between you & your family that MAKES the photograph.
Plan Ahead – If you have kids you obviously know how hard it is to get them into bed (I need a drink, I need the toilet, I need my teddy etc..) and so you plan accordingly to have everything they could possibly need ready to go. The same applies for your photo shoot. Have everything ready that you need and lay out the outfits the day before. You don’t want to be rushing around so please allow yourself some breathing room and remember that I expect things to happen with kids and rarely plan back-to-back shoots. Your photo session will of course be the time that someone looses a tooth, wets through their nappy or pukes down your shoulder. All of this is ok and nothing to stress about.
Have Faith – Please have faith in me, that when I give you directions to a vacant block, an alley way or the top of a carpark that your photos will turn out AMAZING. My camera and lens see only what I want it to see. And don’t worry that your daughter has only smiled for a total of 30 seconds in our time with each other. I have some gorgeous photos of her.
Don’t Wait – I know that a photos shoot is not at the top of your list of priorities. But it should definitely be ON THE LIST. The photos that I take for your family and not just for the ‘here and now’. They are for many years down the road. For when loved ones have moved away or are not with you anymore and the only memories you have are the photos. Your daughters and sons are not going to care that you haven’t lost that last 5kg. All they are going to care about is they can still see you in a photo. Nobody is promised a tomorrow.
Have Fun – The most important thing to tell you is to HAVE FUN. Your photo session is a celebration of your family. We will do a few posed photos just to get everyone used to me and for the Grandparents. But then lets have some fun! Tell some terrible jokes, tickle everyone, run around, be a kid again. Your kids will see you having fun and that means they will be having fun. Think about what your family likes to do and let’s build a family shoot around that.