Getting ready to have your pictures taken can be a very stressful experience, especially if you have children involved, am I right? I have been in your shoes and I know! It is always such a good reminder to me what my clients go through to get ready for a session when I have to do it for my own family and y’all, it is nutty and chaos (but also so worth it)!
So first let me say, I am so thankful that you show up with your people all dressed in cute clothes, with hair done and give me all of the big smiles! It’s a big deal that you are there and ready to go and I am impressed and grateful!
Second, I have learned some tricks along the way that may help those of you who have a particularly stressful time getting to a session. I have put together a list of helpful hints that, I hope, will make your session experience so much easier and a FUN experience, instead of a stressful one.
So, here they are! Feel free to leave me some comments below if you have found some other great tricks!
- NAIL DOWN THE DETAILS. Make sure you know all of the details for your session. This includes knowing what time your session starts and having the location mapped on your phone a few days ahead so you know how long it will take you to get there.
- GET THE LOOK RIGHT DAYS BEFORE. Try on clothes beforehand (not at the last minute) and either take a picture so you can see how you look in it or send a picture to a trusted family member or friend and get confirmation on whether or not it looks good. You can also lay out all of your family members clothes and make sure the colors and styles go well together. Make sure clothes fit right and there are no visible stains. (I’ve got a lot more on this in the “What to wear for your session” blogpost)
- HAVE CLEAR COMMUNICATION. Communicate clearly with your children and spouse (or anyone else involved in your session) your expectations. Include what time you need to be in the car, make sure each person knows what they are wearing, who is dressing small children or doing hair and any other desires you have for your people. It’s ok and highly recommended to have a clear plan of action! I have to be reminded of this too, people can’t read our minds, so we must use our words. 🙂
- GIVE YOURSELF PLENTY OF TIME TO GET READY. This is mainly for moms and senior girls. 😃 If you can swing it, spend some money on getting your make-up and hair done (or get a friend to come help you). I can help you get in touch with some great girls who can come to you, so just let me know. In my experience, you will not love a photo of you if you don’t FEEL pretty. So plan plenty of time for self-care.
- BE FLEXIBLE AND KIND. The most important part about a great shoot is a great attitude and an open mind. It’s easier said than done, but try to create a fun atmosphere prior to your portrait session and during it. On the way to your session listen to fun music or practice smiling and making silly faces in the car. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s NEVER worth having an argument with your family twenty minutes before your session. No issue is worth sacrificing your joy, especially IN the moment. Try not to nag your kids (or your spouse) for their imperfect behavior or smiles at the shoot. Just roll with it. Lifestyle pictures are my favorite and that’s when you get some of the sweetest moments. I take a lot of photos and clients are always amazed at what is captured in the midst of what feels like chaos. Try to have fun!
My little guy Griffin was not in a smiley mood the last time we had our own family pictures made. I mean, he should know the drill… he is the child of a photographer! But we made it work and our sweet photographer snagged this shot and it makes me giggle every time I see it! Photo by Natalie Pitts Photography
- MAKE IT A WHOLE DAY OF FUN: Go into this experience with the thought that this will be a fun day out. Plan to go get a fun meal, or ice cream, or go to a special place after pictures are done. Use this as incentive for your children to have a great attitude during their pictures. (Incentive is a kinder word for bribery… incentives and bribes are equally welcome.)
- BRING SNACKS (or incentives): If you have small children, or even big children, bring some snacks to keep everyone happy. Here are some great snack options: puffs for babies, fruit snacks or applesauce packets for toddlers, skittles for older children. Steer clear from things that could get all over their mouths or clothing.
- TRUST YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER: I will help pose your people, give direction, interact with your children on their level to make them feel seen and heard and give them the freedom to be themselves. I will tell you when you look great or when I know I got a great shot of you or your family. I want to make this as fun and relaxed and enjoyable as possible for you and you can trust that I will do my job. So relax and enjoy the experience!