2 of 3: How I prepared for our family session | Fairfax, Virginia Family Photography

A major part of the success of your family photos is how you prepare yourself and your family. I know that in Northern Virginia life can get hectic, but I promise if you take some time to plan for your family photography session it will be worth it. The best way for me to write about this was to put myself in the shoes of the client – YOU! We had our family photos taken in mid-April and I carefully thought about all the things I did beforehand.

Here are a few things I did in the week leading up to the session:

– Prep the kids. I told the kids about the photo session. Sounds simple, but kids like to be in control and know whats going on just as much as we do. My kids are little so I didn’t tell them until a couple days beforehand. I showed them our photographers picture, told them her name, showed them where we would be for our session, and that we would get ice cream after. I told them it was going to be FUN – kids like fun!

– Clothing. I tested out our clothes. I made sure my dress fit because it was new. I had the kids wear their clothes and see how it fit. I actually switched up one of the dresses at this point because while it looked cute on the hangar, it just wasn’t fitting her well. This also worked to “desensitize” them to the clothes being “special photo shoot clothes”. 

– Shoes. Our session was mid-April and the weather is still unpredictable. It could be 78 degrees or it could be 58 degrees. I bought sandals for them but my little one wanted nothing to do with them. They felt weird because she has been in boots or sneakers all winter. So every mildly warm day I tried again and again to have her wear sandals. However, we ended up wearing rain boots for the session because it was on the chilly side.

– The spouse. My husband has the tendency to look at the camera at all times. It drives me nuts because I don’t want posed photos and as soon as someone is looking at the camera it totally changes the feel of the photo. I repeated “look at us, not the camera” many times before the session.

– The photographer. I showed my daughters pictures of the photographer that were on her social media accounts. The more they know about this “stranger” before we meet the less she will be an actual stranger and the quicker the kids will be comfortable with her. 

– More fun after the session. I told the kids that after the fun photo session we would go get ice cream and they could choose whatever flavor they wanted. And you know what? My 4-year-old ate the entire ice cream cone. I’ve never seen her do that before. I call it delayed bribery because I’m not handing them M&M’s during the photo shoot but they know something will come after. This all depends on the age and personality of your kids but you get the point. I made the whole evening about fun.

It’s the little things that make a big difference! The more you prepare for your family session, the smoother it will run, I promise. 

Some photos from our session below. For tips on styling and clothing selection read Part 1. Photos by the talented Mal Jack Photo