It's been a while since I've come on here and used my blog space. I recently had a photo session with a WONDERFUL family known as the Pyrz family.
I've known the Pyrz family casually and personally for about 5 years, and they are a group of amazing people! In 2015, I photographed Emily & Gareth's wedding - my first wedding ever!
I've been fortunate to have all of them as valued and consistent customers over the last 4 years. From smaller, nuclear family sessions to larger ones like these, it's been an absolute joy getting to know them!
With three little kiddos in the pictures, I've learned a lot about designing my family sessions to be productive and fun. I've learned some tips and tricks along the way to help me make sure that family sessions aren't being dragged out. We all know that a kid's attention span is hard to keep up with, so here are the things that I do when preparing for family photo sessions.
P.S. Uncle Peter's the COOLEST. Duh.
Prepare the Kids
I usually email or text the parents/clients for the session a week in advance and tell them to start telling their kids about me. Show them what a big camera looks like if they've never seen one before. There is nothing scarier to a child than this large black piece of equipment in their face. What's more terrifying - the lady holding it is a stranger! Because of this, I recommend saying things like this over the week leading up to family photos: "Hey, our friend Janelle is coming over on Saturday to take some nice photos of us! Show me your smiling face for Janelle." Depending on your child's age, you will likely have to use this strategy a few times throughout the week and into the morning of the session.
Also, I'll usually spend some time chatting with you, your family and your children before the session. I see no need to jump right into things, and I want everyone to feel comfortable!
Time is of the Essence
Now, the Pyrz grandchildren are great kids, but their ages range from 1-5 years old, and as I mentioned above, attention spans are SPARSE. This session literally took 35 minutes. Our setting was simple - in front of the family home, and Sarah had made a list of combos and pairs that needed photographing.
We photographed everything with the little kids first so that we could get their smiles and expressions without any meltdowns. (Impatience commonly leads to meltdowns.)
I've found that a lot of family sessions can be quite short and still provide the same amount of variety and quality as a more extended session.
Coordinate, Don't Match
Okay, I've literally been telling my family photo clients this for years. I think the age of outfit-matching family photos are behind us unless there's an insider reason. I might offend some people with this one, but it's just not my jam. I recommend to all my clients that coordination is critical. If the family is wearing jeans, perfect! Make sure all tops are in the same general colour combos. If one person is wearing hot pink, then everyone should be wearing an equally bright colour. Keep in mind, this is my opinion and what I've been work best in my sessions.
I also don't oppose to layering for the illusion of outfit changes - it adds variety to your photos! Well done, Rob ;)
The exception that I've loved is when the "matriarch or patriarch" of the family stands out a little bit. I once photographed a multi-generational family, and the grandfather had passed away a few years prior, and I definitely made a point to keep their grandmother front and centre.
She seemed uneasy about being the centre of attention. I looked at her and said, 'All these people wouldn't be together here if it weren't for you." She happened to be wearing a different colour from everyone else, and I thought it just worked out so nicely!
So there you have it, some tips and tricks to photographing families. I'm sure that in the next 5 years of my career I'll have a whole new list to share with you.
If you're looking to book family sessions for this fall, please act fast! Fall is busy, so please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!