How to Prepare to Ensure a Stress-Free Family Picture Day
Family Session | Inland Empire | San Bernardino Mountains | Heidi Grace Photography
When it comes to family pictures, a lot of stress is typically associated with days leading up to the session. I only have one child and I get stressed out! So I can only imagine how the mama’s with multiple kiddos feel. I wanted to write down a few of the tips that have helped me and my clients over the years. I’m here to help you relax and be prepared all at the same time.
7 Tips to Take the Stress Out of Family Pictures
1) Find the outfits you want everyone to wear a month in advance and set them aside somewhere safe. Then have everyone try them on a week ahead of time. This will ensure everything still fits comfortably, and that you didn’t miss any stains or holes that you couldn’t see until they were being worn. And, if you do need to replace something, you still have time. Hello Amazon Prime!
Trying them on
2) As soon as your family changes out of their photo attire, make sure it is clean, ironed, and ready for the big day. Set the clothes together (sorted by person) and place them somewhere free from harm and dirt. I usually put ours in my spare room closet. Be sure to tell everyone that these are clothes for your family pictures, and not to be worn until then. This will help to be sure that no articles of clothing go missing. Don’t forget to set aside shoes, jewelry, belts, and other accessories. If you find yourself struggling, you can always contact me for advice. I actually prefer when clients message me and let me know what they are wearing. This gives me a good idea of your personal style, what the session will look like, and what coordinating blankets or quilts to bring to the session.
Preparing the family
3) About three to four days prior to the session, start talking with your husband and kids about the session. Tell them what to expect and how they should behave. If you plan to use a bribe, ( which I’m all for) now is a good time to set that in place. Continue to talk to your children daily to prepare them for the session, especially if they’ve never met me before. I usually tell my daughter that the photography is my friend, and we are going to go have a fun time with her. This helps to relieve some of the fear if your child tends to be slow to warm up to people they don’t know.
Pack a bag
4) Two days prior to the session, pack a bag of everything you will need on that day – snacks, props, bottle with formula, pacifier, bribery item, etc. Then put it somewhere you won’t forget the day of. Be sure to include wipes in case things get messy, an extra hairbrush, and other “emergency” items, such as bobby pins and a backup lipstick.
Day of session
5) On the day of the session, make sure everyone is well fed, but not overfed. We don’t want sick little tummies from overeating, but we also don’t want anyone getting “hangry” (angry because they are so hungry) either. Do not get your family dressed in their photo clothes until after they have eaten and brushed their teeth. If the child is under 3, I recommend not getting them dressed until you arrive at the session’s location. Little ones have a tendency to get car sick or have diaper accidents. This will prevent their outfit from being ruined prior to pictures.
6) If you have young children, avoid any colored drinks the day of the session. Stained mouths from food dyes are not easy to wipe off or edit out in post processing. If your bribe for them cooperating during the session is candy, make sure to avoid chocolate or any other type that can make a mess while we are shooting. I favor Smarties as a treat during a session. They are a no mess and easy to chew candy.
7) Once you arrive at our sessions location, try to relax. Take a few deep breaths, and know I have you covered. Kids tend to respond better to direction if their parents are not the ones telling them what to do. I generally asks parents to follow my lead, and if I need help, I’ll definitely ask for it. All of my sessions are child led, meaning if the child doesn’t want to do something, then we don’t do it. I will try other ways to get a shot that I want, but ultimately it is all up to how the child is feeling during our session. I want your moments not your poses, as the popular photographer quote goes. If you have a bribe, please let me know so I can use that throughout the session if the children get restless. Trust your photographer – know that I will take care of things as best as I can, and will always try to deliver amazing photos of your family.
I hope these tips will help you at your next family session. Here’s to a fun filled and stress free experience!
Hi! I’m Heidi with Heidi Grace Photography. I’m a wife, mom and family photographer that adores living in Southern California. I love capturing moments over poses for families in some of the most beautiful locations in the Inland Empire. Children and family photography is my jam! Can’t wait for our session together!
Ready to book a session with me? Contact me here
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