Family portraits on the beach are in my top 3 favorite type of portraits to capture. The setting is just magical & when my clients come ready to have fun that’s exactly what we do! Now I don’t have a psychology degree but I can confidently say that when it comes to working with families who have kiddos in the under 8 category, I have some great insight to all the fears parents might have.
I know portraits are important to you otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this blog right now and wondering, “What does Meridith know that I don’t?”. I know the stress of coordinating outfits, getting yourself ready, getting everyone else ready, out the door, and into the car before your scheduled portrait session. Even with months of planning ahead ( I have several clients that book their session in the Winter for the Summer season) it still creeps up fast and before you know it, your in panic/survival mode heading to your session. I won’t tell lies and say that I have the end all fix to this feeling but I have several tried & true tricks up my sleeve that I would love to share with you!
Tip 1: Get yourself in the Right Mindset. This is going to BE FUN, we’re going to have a good time, make some memories & create some photos that will be part of our families legacy. It’s important that your energy sets the tone for everyone. As you know kids tend to read their parents energy and if your stressed they will usually get stressed. And I know I don’t have to mention how it affects your Partner 😉
Tip 2: Get everyone else in the Right Mindset. It’s important to talk about how much fun you’re going to have and maybe where you’ll go have dinner together after. You’ll be all dressed up so why not make it a fun evening ?! Play upbeat music on the way to your session to get everyone in a good mood. Try and come up with a “special family pose” that’s maybe a little silly to do at the end of your session.
Tip 3: Have a realistic appreciation that your kiddos will likely NOT sit still, stand how you think they should, or smile with a “real” smile. This may sound harsh but this is truly where as parents you have to trust me as your photographer. “Stand up straight and give a real smile” almost NEVER produces an image that you want of your child. Their little bodies stiffen up like planks and they produce a smile that you’ve never even seen from them. This is where I come in. If I’m photographing your child by themself I typically will be talking with them as I do so. I’ll ask them how old they are, what grade their starting next year, their favorite color or Paw Patrol character. This immediately gets them focused and generates authentic facial expressions. If I’m photographing you all as a family I’ll start with the traditional portrait with everyone looking at the camera and I honestly get these right of the bat before things “get comfortable”. After achieving the traditional portrait we start to have some fun. I use different tactics to elicit fun & emotional images. There may be a tickle fight, someone tells a joke, whispers a secret into Mom or Dads ear, ring around the rosy, singing a favorite song. Those are just few.
The main thing to remember is an old saying my Mom used to say frequently “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. Making the most of your portrait time is important you and I hope these tips help for your next adventure in front of the camera all together!