There is one thing most all of us can agree on, and that is to expect the unexpected when it comes to photographing, and honestly, with anything, when it comes to kids.
After years in the classroom and raising my own children, I have learned that the best made plans are most likely to change when it comes to working with children. I always tried to be prepared for ANYTHING that could arise when it came to field trips, experiments, road trips, birthday parties, and even trips to the grocery store. That’s why for photography sessions I have created a list of three of my best tips to help you plan ahead for your family photography session.
My first tip…
My first tip is to always try on clothes before your session. This goes for the whole family. Moms, check yourself off the list too! Try on your the outfit you plan to wear for your session from accessories all the way down to your shoes. Take a quick picture on your phone and see what you think.
Of course, the most important people to try on their clothes prior to your session are your children. Now, don’t worry about trying to wrestle your wiggling two year old and try everything on at once, break it into parts. Check their shirt one day, have them wear their shoes around the house for fun another day. Trying on clothes with little kids is rough, but by trying everything on well before your session you have the chance to discover if something doesn’t ‘feel right,’ if a tag is too itchy, or if the shoes do not fit. Nothing can kill the mood faster than a toddler that doesn’t like how something feels against their skin!
What’s your back-up?
You need to have a back-up plan in place. Yes, even though you tried everything on and everyone has coordinating outfits, you need to have a weather change plan in place. Fall in Texas is a little bit crazy. One day it’s hot, the next day is cold. One morning could be warm and the evening quickly shifts to freezing temps. The hardest family session I ever had happened when a family came for their session and they did not have on appropriate clothing for the weather. There was a surprise cold front and the family did not have vests, coats, sweaters, or other items to help protect themselves from the cold air. The little girls were wearing dresses with nothing covering their legs…it was 40 degrees, overcast, and breezy. You guys, it was so hard, no one was happy, and I just tried to keep everyone moving. The parents did not plan for this type of weather and had nothing in reserve.
Dressy, cute cold weather items can be hard to come by and really living in Texas, we don’t have a huge need for cold weather layer items. This is when I find it’s helpful to ask friends if they might have some cute vests, dressy coats, classic looking scarves, embroidered cardigans, etc., that you could borrow. Check stores like Target or Old Navy and purchase a few items to have on hand. I have discovered some adorable coats and cardigans at these stores that would look great in family pictures. You most likely will not need these layers, but you will be so thankful to have them on stand by if necessary.
Get yourself ready first! Yes, even if it means you have to wake up well before anyone else. Give yourself time to get ready without everyone else hurrying around you. Give yourself this quiet time and focus on what you need that makes you feel great. Schedule yourself an appointment at the local blow-out salons. Relax while putting on your make-up. You will feel so much more at ease if YOU are ready early, then you can focus your attention on getting your children ready and out the door. If you are worried about messing up your clothes while wrestling the two year old, wear an apron or robe, but please take care of yourself first.
Most of you already have ‘emergency’ plans in place. You’ve got an extra change of clothes in the car, all the wipes, portable potties, band aids, Benadryl cream, snacks, water bottles, all ready to go at a moments notice. Doing just a few tasks prior to your family photography session will make you feel prepared and more relaxed for your session.