I know family sessions can seem stressful, but they totally don't have to be! Here are my top tips and tricks for having the best family session possible! And as always, if you have any questions or concerns leading up to your shoot, send me an email, I'm always happy help!
1. Decide the optimal session length for your family
If you have a kiddo that needs a lot of time to warm up and adjust, maybe an hour session is the right fit. If you have super active kids that tire quickly, maybe a short and sweet 30 minute session is the way to go.
2. Choose the right location
I have lots of location suggestions, but you’re the only one to know the right fit for your family. For some that’s an outdoor park where we can run around and play, for others that’s a studio that has beds we can jump on, for others your home might be the place that everyone feels the most comfortable. Here are some of my favorite locations in Dallas, but I’m always happy to try something new!
3. Let your kids have some say in their wardrobe
I know it can be hard to relinquish control on outfits, but if your kiddo is uncomfortable or hates what they’re wearing, they likely won’t be as cooperative. I alway suggest giving options so they feel more in control and like they had some say. If you need ideas for what to wear for your session, take a look at my outfit guide here!
4. Do a test run of your outfits beforehand
This goes hand in hand with the tip from above. Always always do a trial run of all your outfits. I recommend at least a week before in case there are any spills or accidents. You’ll find out if something is uncomfortable or bothersome in this trial run so they feel at ease day of.
5. Leave early!
Give yourself more wiggle room than you would think necessary. You’ll want time to find parking, account for traffic, take a bathroom break, and even just play and explore the area before your session. Nothing stresses parents out more than running late and only having 15 minutes remaining for your session.
6. Come well fed and well rested!
Make sure you’ve all eaten before your shoot. We all get hangry! And make sure we’re not getting too close to nap time. If we’re doing an evening session, I recommend pushing nap time a little later in the weeks before to get everyone ready!
7. Nothing’s wrong with a little bribe
If you’re worried about your kiddos not cooperating during session, bring some candy or a treat to help encourage them. In my experience positive reinforcement usually works great! So if you see a tantrum coming, maybe whip out a sweet to get some good smiles.
8. Bring some props
This applies to all kids ages! Sitting and smiling for a long period of time can be tough for kids. So bring a book or some toys to play with so they don’t get bored or cranky. And if it’s something the whole family can do together we’ll get some great candids of you all interacting!
9. Be prepared to move around!
Because kids can get restless or irritated just sitting for an hour I like to introduce movement and games into my sessions. Things like playing red light green light, or parachute with blankets get lots of smiles and create some super cute, authentic photos. So be prepared to move! If that means trading your heels for some flats, do it!
10. Bring water & bandaids
It can be hot in the summer heat, so water is important to make sure we stay hydrated. And bandaids fix everything! Even if it’s a teeny tiny scrap usually they’ll help prevent a meltdown from a small tumble.
11. Listen to music
I bring a small speaker to all my sessions, it helps lighten the mood! Let me know if there’s specific music your family loves in your pre-session questionnaire.
12. Don’t over-plan
Some of my favorite images are ones that have been off the cuff or fun, candid moments. I know it’s tempting to build the perfect Pinterest board of the perfect family photos, but I promise the best photos come from being spontaneous and natural and rolling with all the punches!
Leah Goetzel Photography is a Dallas based wedding and portrait photographer. She specializes in creating fun and authentic photos. If you're interested in booking a family session you can book online HERE or send me a message HERE to learn more! I can't wait to work with you!