I have many people asking me lately, "How do you get those natural smiles, the goofy faces and everyone's personality to shine through?"
Well it could be that I am a big goofball when I do family sessions and everyone laughs at me, or the fact that I've learned a lot along the way throughout photographing many families, especially kids. I have had this post in my head for awhile and I finally got enough ideas to make it come to life.
Before your session starts I will send you a little questionnaire for you to fill out. YES YES I KNOW A LITTLE HOMEWORK! BUT its actually beneficial, it lets me get to know YOU! What are your family's interests? Favorite TV shows, what do you want out of your session..and more.
OKAY a little PSA!!!! NO YOUR KIDS ARE NOT HORRIBLE, THEY ARE NOT THE WORST KIDS I'VE PHOTOGRAPHED.
A good way to make kids "behave" is to let them know ahead of time what YOU are going to expect out of them. Don't just throw them in and except the best when they are meeting someone new who is going to throw a camera in their face.
I have come to expect that kids are going to act well, like kids. Don't stress about it. Usually I like to joke around with them, ask them questions, get to know their personality a bit. Let me get them to smile. Standing behind me yelling "SAY Cheese and look at AMBER" is going to be tough. While this may work for a couple posed shots, it doesn’t work if you want to get those natural, fun loving pictures. Once a kid “says cheese”, any emotion they had instantly leaves their eyes and you’re left with a dull, stale look. If the kid is doing something really cute, like picking flowers or something, sit back and let them. You want those cute innocent moments too. So if the kids aren’t smiling for the camera the whole time, that’s okay!”
RELAX, let's have fun.
Here is a fun example. All I told Brayden here was " Okay DO NOT LAUGH" and lo and behold, he laughed. See what I did there?
Now, I want you all to understand something. These are photos for you! I want you all to be comfortable during your session so please let me know how I can accommodate that. I want you to interact with your family members just as if I wasn't even there. Act like you all would gathered at the dinner table or all piled on the couch watching a movie. That way I can best capture your true selves!
Here is a prime example. I said okay, lets all on the count of three hug each other or give each other a tickle. Do you think I would have gotten this shot if they were all sitting there staring at me with blank faces saying "cheeeeeeese", probably not.
LET"S TALK ABOUT PROPS
I'm going to be totally honest, I'm really not hugely into props. I mean, I definitely think they can liven up an image, but it just isn't MY thing.
That being said, if you have an idea of a prop that you want to bring, or saw something cool on Pinterest by all means let's give it a shot! These are YOUR photos after all.
Family portraits are often the best when we don’t try and make everyone look perfect. I look for moments that fun and are genuine. Everyone sitting together, laying around laughing or having a tickle fight… Mother and child staring at each other and making each other laugh… I typically get a variety of pictures with everyone looking at the camera but I will focus on capturing some candid moments of your family too.