You’ve all been scrolling Facebook or Instagram and stopped on that jaw-dropping set of perfect family photos that your friend posted. You may think to yourself: my family could never achieve that! Her kids must not act like mine do in a family photoshoot. Well, I am here to let you in on a secret: everyone can have photos like this. No one has to be a model and no one’s kids are perfect, trust me. Follow these five steps to see the secret to picture perfect family photos. You will have the best photos ever….promise!
Secret # 1: Perfect Family Photos Begin With….Your Clothing!
I know, I know, it’s hard to pick clothing for a family! I can’t tell you how much your clothing choices affect the look of your family photos. Luckily, I am here to help! Weeks before every family photoshoot, I send a Style Guide to help with the planning process. Many of my clients say that they DON’T need help with clothing. My suggestion is to always tell your photographer what you’re thinking. Photographers can make recommendations for what looks great on camera…which is not always the same as “normal life”.
Secret #2: Touch Someone!
Huh? Yup, that’s right, I want you to be touching someone at all times. This means you need to be holding someone’s hand, stroking someone’s hair, snuggling someone all the time. The key to dreamy, connected family photos is….connection! No one wants those stiff, 1995-era family photos with everyone sitting up with perfect posture staring at the camera. Or if you do….you’ve come to the wrong photographer!
Every lifestyle family image is elevated by some connection. I want you to snuggle up to your spouse’s shoulder, hold your kiddos hand, or kiss that baby….constantly, for one hour. If you’re touching someone, you’re doing it right!
SECRET #3: You have to relax.
But Linda, family photos are stressful! Yes, family sessions can feel like a lot of pressure but this secret can make or break your photos. In fact, I probably should’ve put it as the FIRST secret because it’s the most important of all. While you’re on your way to our session, I want you to take some deep breaths. I want you to forget that your 5 year old fought putting on his new shoes. I want you to forget that your spouse was not as helpful as they could’ve been in the prep work. Instead, think about all the reasons why you love your family and love this stage that you’re in.
When you get out of the car, I want you to be the happiest version of yourself no matter what your kids do. A couple weeks ago, I shared on Instagram stories that 99% of the time, it is the parents that ruin a good photo. This is the truth. Kids look cute pretty much all the time. Parents with angry faces are not cute! Ever. The best kept secret to good photos: look at your kids and smile and laugh no matter what they are doing! I don’t care if they are running, jumping, wiggling, or yelling “poop” over and over. Pretend that whatever they are doing is adorable and you love it. Because chances are, if you didn’t feel the pressure of family photo day, you WOULD think it was cute/funny!
SECRET #4 to picture perfect family photos: Know your family and what makes YOU special!
Family photographers have lots of “standard” tricks up our sleeves for playful movement during your session. Shoulder rides, piggy backs, throwing kids in air…we suggest it all. But not everything works for every child. If you’re aiming to capture those genuine belly laughs please suggest what makes YOUR child laugh. I want to hear about that silly dance you do, that game you play, and that funny noise dad makes. Don’t worry, I’ll be there directing you as to where to stand for best light! Then, I want you to be YOU and trust me to capture it in a gorgeous way!
SECRET #5: Timing is everything.
Even if you do ALL the other secrets right, if your kids aren’t their best selves…we will struggle. So here’s what needs to be thought about BEFORE booking: are your kids early risers or night owls? If you’re booking any dates from April-August, sunset is really late and sunrise is really early! I am not flexible on the time I shoot because I can only achieve the look I do by shooting during beautiful light. This means either sunrise or sunset! If your child gets up at 6:30am every day and is passed out by 7:00pm, sunset in the Spring or Summer is probably not a good choice. Will your child happily stay up past bedtime with a late nap? Perfect!
You’ve chosen the perfect time of year for your child…now the day of your family photos has arrived! The timeline for your day is still of the utmost importance. I know life is busy! There are playdates to schedule, school events to attend, and birthday parties to party at. Don’t schedule any of these things for family photo day. Overtired, over-scheduled kids who are off their routine rarely do well by the evening. Keep it low-key and “normal” before your session.
NOW THAT YOU KNOW ALLLLLL THE SECRETS: LET’S DO THIS!
Truly, the above five secrets are what’s behind achieving the perfect family photos. That and a good photographer ;). Now lets get out there and capture some magic together.
Linda Sobolewski is an on-location, natural-light, lifestyle and portrait photographer specializing in
high school seniors, lifestyle newborn, family & children photography.
Linda Sobolewski Photography is based out of Old Saybrook, CT and serves the Connecticut shoreline and surrounding areas.