Jenn McKinney Photography
Family Photographer Serving Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Apex, Cary, Raleigh, and Surrounding Areas
You have found the perfect photographer for you, picked out beautiful coordinating outfits and the most wonderful location for your photography session. Now it's almost time for your session and you want all of your
hard prep work to pay off. This might seem super challenging especially if you have a small child in your family. One of the best thing I can recommend to you is to PLAN AHEAD!! I have found if you plan ahead and use these
tips below they can really help you have a successful photography session.
Some other helpful tips from previous blog articles:
Need help to choose the best family photographer: Tips for Choosing a Family Photographer .
Tips for what to wear in family pictures: Tips for What to Wear in Family Pictures .
How to Choose the perfect location: How to Choose the Perfect Location.
1. PLAN OUT THE DAY OF THE SESSION
One of the worse ways to show up for your photography session is in a bad mood due to stress and running late. So make sure you have planned out your day enough so that you are early. Even if you are too early to park and walk to your location, you can spend a few extra minutes in the car or just driving around close by the location. Add in extra travel time to get to your photo session incase there is traffic or if you live in the country like I do, and it's possible to get stuck behind a tractor on the backroad. Either way showing up early is a LOT LESS stressful than being late. If you have a young child, make sure you have planned out their day so that they will be happy during your session. Make sure they have had a nap if they are still napping and that they have already ate dinner or at least a big enough snack to last them through the session. Actually make sure everyone in your family has had something to eat so that no one is HANGRY. If you have a toddler in your family try your best to not let them sleep in the car on the way to the photo session. Some kids take awhile to wake up and might not want their picture taken right after they wake up. So make sure they are wide awake and their tummy is happy for those cheerful smiles.
2. BE PREPARED
Pack a small bag with necessities for your session. If you will be outside during your session and there might be bugs around - bring some bug spray with you. If your session will be on a beach - bring some sunscreen with you. It's always a good idea to bring a brush/comb with you and a small bottle of hairspray etc for any last minute hair fixes. If you have a small child in your family some baby wipes are a great item to add to your bag incase their nose needs wiping or they get their hands dirty. If your session will be during the summer when it's hot outside be sure to either have some water with you in your bag or in your car for after your session.
A lot of my photography sessions are at my outdoor studio. During the summer I keep a cooler outside with bottled water for my clients. I also have an area setup with chairs, a small table and a basket full of some necessities incase they need something. I have a daughter that has danced since she was 3, so you can say I'm one of those moms that is prepared with scissors, safety pins, thread etc. You just never know when those small items will come in handy.
It's better to have these items and not need them than to need them and not have them.
If you have a baby that could potentially drool or spitup on the ride to your location, dress them in another outfit for the carride and change their clothes once you arrive. You can also have them wear a bib right up until the session starts.
3. PICK A FUN PHOTOGRAPHER
If children will be a part of your session, pick a photographer that is good with children. If you look at their portfolio you should see a lot of different children. This is a great indicator that they are great with kids. If their portfolio is of mainly adults, that might not be the best family photographer for you. Your photographer should be silly and interact with the kids in order to capture their true personality in your pictures. I personally have a stuffed monkey that I either put on my head or my assistant puts on my head. Kids find this so funny, and yes my hair is a disaster afterwards LOL. I also like to tell some silly "Dad jokes", sometimes it also makes the parents laugh. Be prepared to do some silly dance etc behind the photographer to entertain your kids and make them laugh. What ever it takes - entertain your kids. Your session should be FUN! If you make your session fun, your kids will be more willing to want to come back for the next session. I love when my clients tell me how much fun their child had during one of our sessions! That is truly the best and it helps develop a wonderful relationship. When you find that photographer that connects with you and your family that is absolutely wonderful. This turns your session into more of a hangout with an old friend and something to look forward to instead of a boring chore that nobody wants to do.
I have also discovered that most kids LOVE to see themselves on my camera screen. They think it's awesome and then they are willing to go back to the set and smile some more for me to take a few more pictures of them.
4. HAVE SOMETHING FUN PLANNED FOR AFTERWARDS
No one wants to stop having fun right. So plan something fun to do after your session. Favorite restaurant or maybe some donuts or icecream. I usually have a special treat to give the kids after their session, with the parents permission of course. But giving the kids something to look forward to encourages them to smile and cooperate. Talk with your kids during the session and let them know when you are about half way done and it's almost time to go to xyz.
5. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
Most of the time open communication can solve the majority of issues before they even occur. If you have a concern about your child cooperation before the session, talk to your photographer. Let them know your concerns and come up with a plan together to make your session as successful as possible. If you have a blemish or something that you are concerned about being photographed, talk to your photographer. Think of your photographer as being on your team, y'all should work together to create the most successful session together.