Earlier this year we had our first family photo session with the amazing Sami Jo Photography. I was so excited to get pictures of our all eight of us in our blended family. I couldn’t wait to finally get some pics of Josh and I together that we didn’t have to set up a tripod for, too.
My three kids and I did a session with Sami last year, and it was absolute perfection. Not only did she deliver amazing images, but we genuinely had a great evening as a family. I knew this session was going to be a little different since there are six kids in our family now. I love candid photography the most, and that definitely makes photo sessions a little more relaxed. But even with candid photos, there’s still posing and directing involved for the photographer as well as listening and following the directions from the subjects. Getting eight people on the same page can be a task for sure, so I prepared our family as well as I could for the evening. While we didn’t have an evening with tears and sibling scuffles, we did have a great successful session with so many pictures to choose from at the end!
Here’s some ideas to help prepare your family for your next session!
3 Tips to Prepare for Your Family Session
1. Pick the right clothes – This isn’t about picking clothes that look cute together (though that’s obviously something you want to do!). This is more about making sure the kids are comfortable. We all know how annoyed we can feel when our clothes fit uncomfortable or when we don’t feel confident in what we’re wearing. I had about three different outfits picked for each kid, and then I let them pick what they wanted to wear from those three. That way, they were all happy with what they had on. Plus, I like that each kids’ style comes through in our pictures. I made the mistake of not checking the weather and it ended up being really chilly despite the sun being out. The kids ran out of smiles as soon as they were cold, so that was a mom fail there! I definitely recommend finding a sweater or jacket for everyone “just in case!”
2. Have “the chat.” We talked to our kids before Sami arrived about our expectations for the session. Did they listen to everything we asked of them the whole time? Nope. But they knew that we had expectations of them to behave, be polite, and cooperate. We talked with them about how their cooperation directly affected how long our session would take and how the pictures would turn out. This obviously doesn’t mean that they’re all going to be perfect for the session – but I like for kids to know what to expect going in to the session.
3. Mamas, this one is for you. SET REAL EXPECTATIONS! I can’t say this one enough. I realized how important this is after three or four years of having my family pictures done and realizing that my attitude directly affected everyone else during our session. I used to go into sessions wanting the “perfect” Christmas card picture. You know, the one of everyone looking happily at the camera with every hair in place and piece of clothing perfectly tucked. I was stressed and frustrated when the kids didn’t cooperate. And it shows. And guess what. Every single time I got my pictures back, my favorite pictures were the relaxed ones. It was the candids of us actually enjoying being in the same vicinity with each other instead of me trying to get everyone to “act” a certain way during the session. When I realized that I was already deciding how the session was supposed to go before we ever even showed up, I was taking that creative control away from our photographer and setting myself up for disappointment. I have your back at your session – let me do my job and you enjoy your evening with your family!! Capturing those real moments makes for some amazing pictures and great family memories from an enjoyable evening together!