How to prep for lifestyle family photos (and how to make them yours!)

With so many families preparing for lifestyle family portraits this fall, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips and tricks for success! Here’s my top 5….

#5 – Get in the picture!

About 20% of my clients only want photos of their kids. Here’s my chance to BEG you to get in the frame too, at least for a few shots 🙏🏻. You don’t have to send these out with your holiday wishes if you don’t want to but your kids will want to see YOU when they review family photos years from now. Don’t do it for me… do it for them!

#4 – Don’t surprise the kids

Talk about your plans to take photos from the day you book and be excited! If its your first time shooting with a photog, explain that the family will be meeting a new friend with a camera who will take pictures of everyone together. Let them ask questions, they might want to know where or for how long. It can be a hard start when a child feels ambushed with expectations on the spot so talk beforehand. Even older kids need info so talk about what you expect and address any hesitation or awkward feelings before arriving on site.

#3 – Dress for success!

Don’t wait until the day of to address wardrobing. (If you haven’t already found this post, check it out!) Make sure that the clothing you choose is comfortable and weather appropriate: if a kiddo is wearing a sleeveless dress in 45 degree weather, her photos will look as frozen and wooden as she is feeling. Similarly, a woolly sweater on an unseasonably warm day won’t go over well either. Think in layers and make sure footwear is comfortable enough for the terrain of your chosen location.

#2 – Keep the good times rolling

Taking photos can make anyone feel judged! If a child is acting out or being too silly, resist the urge to “correct” and give a hug instead. This behavior is often an expression of nervousness and discomfort. If a child is feeling sad or shy, don’t force anything – just offer a hold or hug. If that doesn’t work, focus elsewhere – they’ll eventually come around and want to be part of the fun if we are making fun happen.

If a behavior is becoming dangerous (running towards a cliff, hitting a sibling, etc) then of course you should intervene to keep everyone safe. But don’t worry about small discretions of behavior, that really doesn’t matter here. Feeling comfortably, happy and loved does! Which leads me to…..

#1 – Be comfortable, be yourselves, have fun!

Don’t let Pinterest or IG psyche you out! You don’t have to dress a certain way, go to certain place or be a certain thing. Families come in all ways, shapes and forms and families also evolve over time: what worked one year may not feel authentic the next. Don’t force clothing or props that don’t describe you or get your pics taken in the country if you are city people at heart. Trust your photographer to position and prompt but you must show up as yourselves and have trust. If in doubt ask, “when we look back on this, will it look like us or some other family?”

Just a little food for though by way of photos…. Now go, get your pictures taken, and have fun doing it!

Here’s my CREW, our 2019 family picture. We may live in the burbs now but we are those city people at heart 😉

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