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Family Photos

Tips for a Successful Family Photo Shoot  

Professional photos of our family is the absolute best gift I could ever receive. I love how the photos capture times of our lives, in the moment. Personalities are captured, tears, smiles, just the overall family interaction. I cherish these memories, as all we can do is look back on them due to time going so fast {cue "Samurai Cop" by Dave Matthews Band"- you are welcome mama's ;) }. I can’t help but wish I had done more professional photo shoots for Beckett's 6 months and holidays, but considering the pressure of the day with an active baby {that can’t be bribed yet}, I knew it would be asking too much. Thankfully, with the use of social media and really great cameras on iPhones, I have been able to document so much myself. But it makes me cherish these photos even more. I will admit that I may have it a bit easier, as one of my best friends is my professional photographer, so spending a few hours with her is easier, even with a squirming and fussy baby!

As we have spent many days preparing for Beckett's two photo sessions, I've found some things allow for a more smooth day than others. Here are a few tips for having a successful photoshoot, that I’ve learned along the way. I hope it helps! 

Side note: please consider that all babies and children are different and have their own unique temperaments. This is just what has worked for our little family!

Scheduling The Shoot.
Consider planning the shoot around the children's normal daily routine. Babies, especially, thrive on routine.  When keeping with the schedule, it is more likely the baby will cooperate in front of the camera. Make sure the baby/children are fed, changed, & napped. For a newborn shoot, nurse right before the shoot {to get them extra sleepy} and bring a nursing cover with you. With our newborn shoot, I nursed 3x to try to get Beckett asleep {and the little stinker still barely slept}. Bring snacks for the little ones. Taking a few minutes for a break to get the children back into a better mood is absolutely worth it. Can you plan a fun outing after, to be motivation for children to cooperate? Who doesn’t love an ice cream cone?

Pick the location that works for you. Will your baby/children cooperate in the car if you decide on a further location? What will the lighting be like at the time of day {full sun is tough for photographers}! After you pick the place, it is important you like the backdrop enough, so scout it out ahead of time if you or your photographer has never been to the location before. You don’t want to waste your precious paid minutes (they go so fast) of shooting time walking to find the right backdrop.

For us, we opted to do a lifestyle photoshoot, in our home, due to the season (it is cold in Chicago in March) and for the comfort of having everything we need in front of us. I planned this ahead of time with our photographer to make sure the space works for her. She has been to our house many times so she knew that the time of day and the amount of light we have would work. Make sure to talk with your photographer to make sure there is enough lighting in the rooms of your home. Your photographer is the expert and may bring special lenses and lighting props to make the room work for the shoot.

The less, the better.
In my mind, I daydream about perfection. I imagine outfit changes, different locations, smiles, kisses on cue and only genuine laughter. I've learned this isn't realistic. Consider how much can actually happen, in the time that you have, that will keep everyone happy. I know if my hubby doesn’t want to change his outfit more than once, my 11 month won’t want to either. We chose to keep to one outfit, in one location, and in the end it was a good choice. Especially due to the fact the baby was prettttty temperamental come picture day. Of course!

 If you do decide on an in-home session, get the house ready the night before. The day the pictures come, you don’t want to be running around like a crazy person, cleaning, sweating, and running around. The child will sense your stress, it could lead to marital arguments {been there}, & there is a high chance that you won’t have enough time for yourself to get ready {let’s face it moms, we barely have time to even get a touch of powder on, any given day}. Before going to bed, straighten everything up and you will have a better night of beauty sleep! 

Consider where in your home you will be shooting. Less is more. You want to be the center of attention, so hide anything that may get in the way of that. The photographer will appreciate this too. I threw everything on our dining room table, easy to put back later.

This is always the most stressful for me. What to wear on the big day?! My photographer always stresses basic colors and no busy patterns. I always consider what colors are in season and which looks good on everyone's skin tone. I love color and patters myself, so I usually break the rules a bit and add the variety of the color palette, keeping my hubby and baby neutral and pattern free. Pick out outfits the night before. Lay them out. Steam/iron them. Again, the less stress on the big day, the better.

Be Natural & Have Fun.
Try to relax during the shoot. Act natural {sounds easier said than done, right}, but this is what you want to remember. Try to have fun! Act as you would without the lens. The photographer has the job of telling the story of your family and they are very skilled at what they do. I feel like this is something I still need to work on. I almost cried after our shoot, as Beckett was so out of character and didn’t smile the whole time. He dropped a raw egg on the ground, touched hot coffee & cried his head off, had his tongue out nonstop and would tantrum any time we tried to “stage” him. Looking at the photos a few weeks later, no one would know we had a disaster of a time. We love our photos and believe they tell such a perfect story of our daily weekend morning.

Here are some pictures from our most recent session! Photos taken by the lovely So talented :) We are so grateful for these memories.

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