The start of daffodils blooming marks not only the start of Spring but also family photo season. Are you ready for the big day? With family photos being so expensive and with your kids growing up so fast you want the perfect pictures that encapsulate this special time in your family’s life. Our family has done every season. The traditional fall photos with the jean jackets, the winter photo with the festive dresses, the bohemian sunflower photo shoot, and now I am trying to plan the beach photo as part of our upcoming trip to Florida. I reached out to friend Maureen Schwartz with Sweet Kisses Photography to partner on this article to give families all the tools to make their upcoming family photo session a success from the mom and photographer perspective. Maureen has also agreed to give Home from Heart followers a 10% discount off full session prices by mentioning Home from Heart while scheduling. 🙌 You need to head over to her website to check out her work. Amazing!!
This past week we have gone through the hottest themes for spring family photo shoots and provided you with shopping links to several coordinated outfits for the whole family to match these themes! I think selecting the clothing is definitely the most challenging and time consuming aspect of planning the family photo shoot! Hopefully we helped reduce that time and gave you some great shopping options! Today we are going to conclude this article series by giving you some great tips to make sure your family photo session is a success!
To set yourself up for success and to ensure you have an optimal photo shoot time with a fantastic photographer try to book a couple of months in advance. There are some years when things are so busy that I have had to book family photos right before they happened but I always feel like things run more smoothly and I can plan outfits better when I book early.
Invest in clothing & shoes
If you follow my blog you know everything I do is on a budget, that is with the exception of Disney World and Family Photos. I am not saying I completely throw the budget out the window with these two events (well maybe I do with Disney World, I have a tendency to overbook character dining!🤣) but I think if you are going to spend all that money for a family photo session you want to do it right! These are the pictures that my kids are going to show their kids one day and I know no one is going to say later in life “I wish I took less family photos” if anything the opposite will be true. So I always try to take the time and spend the money to buy coordinated outfits to create an amazing photo. I try not to forget the shoes too. I know it can be a pain and expensive to buy everyone yet another pair of shoes but I definitely don’t want to ruin the entire aesthetics of the picture when I could have invested in $15 dollars for a new pair of shoes for the kiddos. I know selecting coordinating outfits is incredibly time consuming so we have made it super easy for you! Check out our three part article series to get shopping links to coordinated family outfits for every member of the family by photo shoot theme: Secret Garden, Farmhouse, and Urban Setting.
I always try to avoid t-shirts or clothing with writing on it which can be distracting in the photograph. Maureen also suggested thinking about selecting fabrics that avoid wrinkles which is a great idea. Another thing to think about is selecting the right footwear given where the photos are being taken. I have heard horror stories from other mom friends about their high heels getting stuck in the grass during family photo sessions so thinking about your location when selecting apparel is important as well.
In talking with Maureen she suggested lipstick and mascara for mom to really make your eyes and face pop. Maybe it is because my girls were always in dance when they were younger but I have no problem adding a little blush to my girl’s cheeks and lip gloss too, and of course hair spray! I always try to go a little heavier on my makeup for family photos as well.
Preparing your children
Kids are the variable in the family photos. They are like the ticking time bomb that everyone is walking around on egg shells. Are they going to have a meltdown, are they going to get grass stains on their knees right before the photo, are they going to be grouchy and refuse to smile? We have all been there and I know it is my top fear always walking into family photos. Here are some things to give you a higher probability of success:
1.) If you are shooting later in the day (around sunset) and you are afraid your kids will be grouchy have them nap later in the day.
2.) Feed your children right before you leave (but make sure to do it before you put their fancy clothes on) and make sure to brush their teeth after
3.) Promise them a treat afterwards for good behavior
4.) Bring a snack to keep them happy throughout. (I think I am going to try this even with my older kids). I initially thought Goldfish would be a good snack option because it wouldn’t stain the kids clothes but Maureen brought up a great point. No Goldfish because it sticks to their teeth. Maureen suggests Smarties, Yogurt Bites, Fruit Snacks, and Fruit Pouches. Will definitely be taking her advice for our next photo session!
5.) Maureen also suggests bringing a child’s favorite toy. It can make them feel more comfortable being in front of the camera.
Lighting vs. Bedtime
So Maureen and I talked about this topic and it was so helpful! Photographers always want to shoot in the evening closer to sunset to get the perfect lighting for outdoor photos. In the past when my kids were younger and our photographer would suggest to shoot the family photos at like 6:30pm I would be like, “are you crazy”? This would be the time of night when my kids would be melting down right before bedtime and it seemed like the worst idea ever. When I was talking to Maureen about this however she says that kids are generally fine. The kids are excited and interested in the scenery around them and the lighting benefits far outweighs the risk of grouchy kids. She stated that with the sun brightly shining earlier in the day casts unwanted shadows and bright spots. Good to know!
Have had such a fun time partnering with Maureen on this article series and I hope it has made planning for family photos and the day of a little bit easier for you and your family! Have fun capturing this special time in your family’s life and those cute little one’s. They grow up too fast!