Families with multiple children can be incredibly fun for family photographers to take portraits of. The energy, movement, and spontaneity of kids at different age ranges can be challenging if you're a new photographer, but I've found that if I change my mindset and expectations around what I want the session to be, I can walk away with some pretty creative photographs.
Planning a family session is really important when it comes to bringing out natural, organic moments like this. A family questionnaire automatically goes out to every client with every online booking that happens on my website. This is your opportunity to tell me or your chosen photographer useful information about your family. What are your likes, dislikes? Do you have any fun games or hobbies that you like to do with your family? Are your kids at a certain developmental stage that I should know about in case it comes up during the session time? Are they shy or comfortable having their picture taken? Do they like being outdoors? These are important things to consider since they may all play a part as to how I approach your family and your children. I pride myself on helping everyone to feel at ease and comfortable in front of my camera, but especially when children are involved.
This particular family had a Dad who really enjoyed playing and singing songs on his guitar. And yes, it's totally a great item to bring along to the photoshoot because it creates an activity for this family and it keeps the kids entertained. Instead of me having to ask the kids to dance, they did it organically on their own. Swaying and dancing with your kids is even better. I always like to prep my clients before every shoot to let them know that they never need my permission to play with their kids. In fact, it is greatly encouraged for you to do so. Movement creates amazing photos, but it also helps you feel comfortable in front of the camera.
Let your kids be themselves during a session and they will reward you with amazing photos. This can be difficult to do, but please don't discipline them or tell them to smile during a session. This discourages kids and makes them feel bad about themselves. Instead offer positive reinforcement, encouraging words, tell them how much you love them, and of course hugs and kisses always work. Children respond to positive words - doesn't everyone? Family photographers have the unique ability to guide children back to a position and capture beautiful, happy moments such as this one. The older kids were really responding to making their baby brother laugh - he was having a real giggle moment - and it made the older kids laugh to see their baby brother laugh - the best! I never could have directed this moment. I can only tell you where to stand for optimal light - the rest is up to you and how much you interact with your loved ones. This photo makes me smile because they are genuinely just being themselves.
I always, always want to capture your kids being silly and having fun in the great outdoors known as the Pacific Northwest. This little boy had so much personality and was again enjoying making his baby brother laugh. He noticed that I was laughing as well and peeked backwards at me while I was taking a photo from overhead. I think I said "Oh I can see your smile" and quickly snapped his portrait. What I love about this photo is that again, it is not posed. I could never ask a child to pose like this and expect that it would come out looking natural. The parents were truly letting their kids be themselves and it is so important! Don't ever worry about your kids not smiling for the camera (those smiles will come, trust me!) or acting up during a session. Unless they are sick or overtired, most kids just love being outdoors in a safe environment where they can run and play.
By the way, I never turn my camera off when there are this many kids in the frame. The thing I love about photographing children is as I mentioned above - they are so unpredictable! That may stress you out as parent if you come to a family session expecting a perfect family portrait, but I urge you to let all of that go. The perfect family photograph doesn't exist in my mind. What makes a picture memorable are what many photographers like to call the "in-between" moments. These are the unscripted moments. This is your story playing out in front of you for this moment in time while we are together. Moments like this I could never direct because they just happen and I will always be ready with my camera. Let go of your expectations, come in with a positive attitude that you will look beautiful with the help of my client closet and online styling service, and just enjoy the process. I promise you that those special moments will come when you are least expecting it.
It's our job as family and children photographers to anticipate the moments before they actually happen. It's why we have a fast shutter speed and why I'm constantly moving around you to capture you from flattering angles. If you want a family photographer that takes the perfect, posed family portrait that may not be me. However, if you want a family photographer that takes images that are heartfelt, candid, frozen memories that you will look back on fondly and remember when you were in that stage of life, then I am your person. Booking online is now available through my website and I am already anticipating hearing all about your story.