You're with your photographer to have a family photo session. You didn't have enough time to make your hair the way you like it because you were rushing to the photo session from your kid's soccer game. But you have bigger problems because your tween has a major attitude about having to leave his friends to be part of the family photo shoot, your spouse just realized there's a button missing from the front of his shirt, and your toddler decided this was a fine time to start crying.
Has this happened to you?
Family photo sessions are such a key way to preserve memories of your family that you don't want it to be a stressful time. Here are our best tips for a stress-free family photo session.
Tip #1: Plan Ahead
Schedule your photo session at a time that is good for everyone (including working around nap times, if necessary). Have everyone clear their schedules so there is plenty of time before and after your photography appointment. Hurrying to your photo shoot, or rushing the photographer because you have to be somewhere else next, won't result in the best photos.
In addition to planning your time, you'll also want to let everyone know what to expect at the photo session. And, of course, prepare your family's clothing in advance of the session to make sure clothes fit and the colors everyone wears are complementary.
Tip #2: Have a Backup Plan
If you have a messy preschooler or a baby prone to spit-up or drool, consider bringing an outfit change or two just in case. It also wouldn't hurt to bring along a small sewing kit that includes extra buttons, a needle and thread, and safety pins. (Safety pins can be magic!) Talk with your photographer about a possible backup venue if necessary.
Tip #3: Have Everyone Eat Before the Photo Shoot
Hungry people can be cranky people. Make sure everyone is well fed before you get to the photo session -- even if it's just a snack. It's also helpful to keep some water on hand during the photo shoot in case someone gets thirsty. It's probably best not to eat at the photo shoot, though, because you don't want crumbs or stains on your outfits.
Tip #4: Give Up on the Quest for Perfection
Saying cheese to get a fake smile? Posing just so with the most alluring head tilt? Worrying about wrinkles? Let your tight grip on the ideas of the "perfect" photos melt away. Instead, relax, have fun with your family, and trust your photographer to capture the real essence of your family the way you are.
Tip #5: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
If something does go wrong -- or just doesn't go the way you expected -- try to go with the flow and keep a light-hearted attitude about the photo shoot. Set the example for the rest of your family, and they might just adopt the same attitude and decide to enjoy the rest of your photo session no matter what.