I honestly believe that family sessions are best when families are in their element, doing their thing, interacting with and loving on one another. But sometimes, just like anything else in life, we may need a little help getting to the place where we are comfortable being ourselves, especially in front of a camera! Being comfortable in front of a camera is not something that comes naturally to a lot of people – especially when young kids are involved! They can very easily get distracted by the new person with the camera and while that’s awesome and a great way to get some smiling face pictures, it can also kind of ruin the authentic, natural vibe my clients love for their images!
With that in mind, I created a list of things to bring to your family session that can help facilitate those natural interactions between family members, and keep kids focused on having fun with their family rather than the person with the camera!
- Books. Books are awesome, I LOVE when families read together, and I love documenting that even more! If your child is just learning to read, bring their favorite book and have them read to you. If you have a favorite story, or a book that you’ve had since you were a kid, bring that and cuddle under the tree and read to your kids. Bring a new book that the kids have never heard before, and take turns reading the voices with your husband so the kids are super engaged. The possibilities are endless!
- Blanket. By far the most practical thing on the list, bringing a large blanket to sit on is pretty much a must. It’s great to spread it out and cuddle together to read or tell stories, the kids can lay out and play. It’s just an added accessory, but it makes it so you don’t have to sit in the grass, which let’s be honest – is always a plus.
- Snacks. If you’ve got kids, you know how unpredictable they can be! Even though they just had breakfast an hour ago, and they NEVER get hungry at this time, the day of your shoot will be the ONE DAY they are so starving they won’t survive the extra 45 minutes until lunch without a snack. Plus little fingers reaching for Cheerios make for a great detail shot 🙂 Along this same line, water is a great idea – especially if you’re having a summer session.
- Extra Outfits. In fact, bring a couple of extra outfits!! Not only do they make for nice variety in your images, inevitably the one time you don’t bring an outfit, you WILL need one! We went out last weekend for just a few hours, and Saithe pooped her way through two outfits! Yikes! Just make sure the extra outfits follow the same general color scheme the rest of you have going!
- Props. I know I always say how much I love natural photos, but props can be a really fun way to add variety and a theme to your shoot. My sweet best friend Alissa’s son Silas was born just about a year after her Nana passed, and Nana always used to say “I love you a bushel and a peck” so they themed Silas’s first birthday shoot around that, complete with a handmade chalk sign and a bushel basket! Just because photos are real and authentic doesn’t mean they can’t have a theme and props!