6 Tips to Help Prepare You for Your Family Session! | Missouri City, Texas Family Photographer

Family Sessions are great ways to capture awesome moments of your family’s lives together as you all grow. As a photographer, I understand the value of these photographs will have in your life as you see your loved ones grow each day. But family sessions can be tricky! Kids don’t always want to smile for the camera, babies (and husbands) get hungry or easily agitated.  When all combined this makes parents easily stressed when their picture-perfect session doesn’t seem to be going as perfectly as they had pictured it would be. That’s why today I’m sharing my 6 tips that will help you and your family prepare for your upcoming family session!

  1.  Choose your clothing carefully! Wear something nice but be sure it’s something you can be comfortable in:

    Let’s start off with the most frequently asked question a photographer gets. “What should we wear for our session?” I plan on writing a few posts on this in the future but for now let’s just start off with a little simplification. If you’re planning to have your family photos taken outside, then I would recommend finding something to wear that is nice but not too nice. Of course, that may be better said than done but I also don’t plan on asking you all to jump around in the mud (unless, you know, you wanted to!).  I do know that I definitely do plan for you and your kids to sit, lay down, or possibly crawl around on the ground, and that means you might get a bit messy! But what about for an indoor session at your home?

    Well if you are planning an indoor session, make sure you are wearing something nice, and something you would wear in your house. Don’t you think it would look kind of weird if the whole family was dressed up in formal attire with heels and bow ties while sitting casually on your living room sofa? And I don’t plan on having you sit still either! You are going to be too busy hugging, tickling, bouncing and possibly running around! (at least I bet the kids will be) And you know what? I love when parents roll around on the ground with their kids because it makes for a much more connected and love-filled moment for your photo. (and the kids love it too!)

    It’s hard to let loose and have fun during your session if you’re too busy making sure you haven’t gotten dirt on your nice dress or are afraid of popping a button on your new nicely ironed shirt. I don’t want you to be stressing out over your outfits, instead I’d rather you be having a great time with your family while having your picture taken!

    I do recommend choosing coordinating colors (but not matchy, matchy) with bold accent colors, such as hues of gray with yellow or bright red accents.  Adding fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and little sassy flair to your images.

    So now that we’ve tackled what to wear, let’s talk about…"what time of day is best?”

  2.  Plan your Family Session at a time of day that works best for your family:

    I know that there are times during the day when your kiddos are not feeling their best or on their best behavior. Working around sleep schedules, feeding schedules, and plain old end of the day exhaustion doesn’t always leave much time to ask your kid to sit down and stay still for photos! (not that I’d want them to smile and sit still, but we’ll get to that later.) I would definitely recommend letting me know the times of day that will work best for you and your littles. I personally find that early mornings before nap/after breakfast and early afternoons after nap/lunch seem to work best for kiddos. I’d also like to add that there is a possibility that even when you’ve scheduled what seems to be the perfect time of day for your session, where your kiddos are their happiest, it doesn’t mean they will be for the camera.

    I am pretty flexible with my time and am happy to work with your family dynamic. This is one of those “just do the best you can” situations where you work with what you know and hope it holds up! But don’t stress too much about it.  I understand that the idea of your child having a meltdown in the middle of a photo shoot you paid good money for is kind of a nightmare scenario for most parents, but I want you to know that grumpy subjects have never stopped me before and it most definitely is not the end of the world (or our session).

  3. Be sure to leave plenty of time to get ready.

    Also, Moms are often rushing around before a photo shoot, making sure that their family is dressed and ready. I always encourage mothers to have their hair and makeup professionally done. This will prepare mom for her pictures and when mom is feeling pretty and confident, this will reflect on the rest of the family as well.

    Leave plenty of time for showers, baths, dressing, and grooming. When a family shows up to a family photo session rushed and disorganized, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganized session. Give yourself extra time so that you are ready before it’s time to head out that door. Because know Houston’s traffic, you always want to plan ahead.

  4. Just Smile Through The Tantrums & Go With The Flow.

    Tantrums can happen and sometimes kids just don’t want to have their photo taken (in the beginning at least). Even with the best-laid plans to keep your kiddos happy disaster in the form of a tiny (yet very adorable) grump can pop up and take us all by surprise. I know it might feel like a super fail but it doesn’t have to be!

    This is when I tell parents to not even worry about it and just keep on smiling. Smile!? While my kid is currently acting out the definition of uncooperative? Seriously! I’ve had sessions where one of the kiddos was crying almost the entire time and I could tell it was really starting to affect the mood of the parents (especially Mom). Crying children, in my opinion, is one of the quickest ways to go from 0-100% stressed in a matter of seconds (and I totally get it)! My advice when faced with a meltdown situation in the middle of your family session is to take a deep breath and say to yourself “this too shall pass”.

    Sometimes kids just need a break, or need to switch things up, and I don’t get worried when this happens because it usually leads us to the next great photo! Prepare yourself for the unexpected and plan for how you address those tough moments that will ultimately get everyone smiling again. I promise it’s not the end of the world and many, many kids before yours have done the exact same thing during their family sessions.

  5. Cheese should belong with crackers.

    Please, parents… leave the “cheese” at home. Cheese should belong on crackers and not your session. So many times I have found parents who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese to the lady kids!” Yelling and demanding their children to look at the camera to smile. This will only stress your children out (not to mention the me) and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photos. Step back, breathe and allow me to naturally interact and talk with your children. This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles. feel free to help me to capture the true essence of your child’s personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally and easily. But now it’s time to talk about the most important tip I can give families!

  6. Don’t forget to have fun with your family!

    You probably hired a photographer because you want authentic, adorable, super happy smiling photos of the whole family, am I right? Well, the best way to do it is by having FUN! This is quite honestly one of the BEST tip I can give to parents who are worried about their kids not cooperating or wanting their photo taken. What should you do in a situation like that?

    You could turn it into a game, play with them, be super silly around them, say fart and butts and lolly-poops so many times that everyone is laughing like crazy! (myself included!). I’m all about bringing a fun-loving positive vibe into the session, and you guys should be too. Let’s be a team! Our goal: make everyone laugh as much as humanly possible.

    Don’t be afraid to pick up your children and toss them in the air. Husbands, Give your wife a sweet kiss on the check. Wives, tell your husband how much you love him and appreciate him for being there for your family. Have fun. Laugh. Giggle. Joke. Embrace. Kiss. Snuggle. Play.

    I know it’s tempting to bribe your kids with a prize at the end. but I’m telling you…if the message you’re sending out to your kids from the start is to just “get through it and smile” then they are probably not going to look forward to the session and it’s just going to be 10 times harder to get them to smile. And listen, It’s okay if everyone needs a break, sometimes taking a moment to talk out what’s going on and getting back to a positive and fun mindset is all that is needed.

    And like I said before, things not going as planned doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You know the saying “when one door closes a door, another door opens?” Well, 9 times out of 10 that 'other door’ is just what we need to get the photos you’re dreaming of. The door that could lead you to a new game, a new joke, a new memory being made just to make your loved ones smile.

    Trust me, having a good time is the best way to get photos that showcase exactly what every family session is about: love, connection, and togetherness. So be sure to lead by example! Get pumped up!! This is gonna be amazing! WOO! * internet high five!! *

Doing these things will allow me to capture the emotion and true beauty of your family. Leave the stiff “cheese” faces for Aunt Marge at the next family reunion. Show me who you really are, so that I can have the opportunity to capture your love through my lens. The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other.

Understand that not every picture needs to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. If you are engaged as a family and loving on each other, your eyes will be on your family members and your smile with be natural. These are the photographs that you will cherish most because they depict your family connection and your love.

Hey there, and thanks for stopping by to check out my blog! I love featuring my clients’ images and telling their story from beginning to end. I hope that this blog post, among others, will give you a glimpse into what to expect should you invest in Zinn Photographer as your Child, Maternity, Family, Senior Portrait Photographer within the Houston, TX area. While my very favorite images are posted here on my blog and within my website, if you are interested in booking and would like to see a full gallery, never hesitate to ask!

I can promise all of the images you receive will be completely frame worthy!

If you are you interested in a Family Portrait Session with Zinn Photography and would like more information or would like to reserve a date, please click HERE or shoot me an email at laurenzinnphotography@gmail.com You can find investment information HERE.

I find such joy in capturing a family’s story and would be honored to serve as your photographer!

Zinn Photography specializes in child, maternity, family, senior portrait photography. With services to the Houston area, including Katy, Cypress, Richmond, Sugar Land, Pearland, Spring, The Woodlands, The Heights, West University Place, River Oaks, Rice Village, Bellaire, and Friendswood, we are the premier studio for your photography needs.