Tips to get the best out of a family photo session

So you want the faces you love most to be frozen in time forever in a beautiful, perfect family photo. When you think about the stress of corralling the kids, however, whether they're sticky-faced toddlers or sullen teens, chances are you could develop a headache.

There are some questions and options to address. What should the family wear as they say cheese? And here’s another million dollar question: Is it really possible to keep every person in the family fresh-faced and cute, all the way from home to the photography studio?

Preparations for the family photo won’t ever be completely stress free. But if you lower your standards from picture-perfect to realistic, there’s a chance that you will laugh a lot more than hiss under your breath or offer bribes for the kids to stand still and smile.

Here are a few stress reducers for those moments in front of the camera:

  • Some parents want everyone to wear the same color. Others prefer complementary colors or patterns. Still others enjoy dressing their children alike. It isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money on clothing for family photos. Pick something comfortable. 
  • Plan photography sessions around nap times for little ones. If your child is teething, fighting off a cold or has an ear infection, avoid disaster and reschedule the appointment.
  • Take along a brush and comb, wet wipes and extra clothing for emergency changes.
  • Schedule photographs after everyone has been fed, but before they start to get hungry.
  • Allow time for the photographer to talk to your children. They can ask questions and learn the photographer’s name, which helps lower anxiety.
  • Consider scheduling family photographs at your home. Is there a favorite tree looming in the yard? Is there a special story attached to the kids’ swing set or the tree house? The family is likely to pose more comfortably for photos in an area they love and their memories of the photo session will be positive, too.
  • Consider meeting the photographer at a park or another favorite place your family enjoys. Beautiful photographic opportunities come about when children forget to stand still and smile on cue.
  • Lower those expectations. If the baby pulls off her shoe or the toddler climbs behind you to peek shyly over your shoulder, let it go. Sometimes, those are moments most parents cherish forever.

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