7 Tips for Surviving a Family Lifestyle Session

You’re counting down the days to your family lifestyle session, and you’re hoping for incredible pictures like these that you’ll be able to share with friends and family. Whether you’re setting the stage for family Christmas photos or creating stunning pictures that you’ll be able to hang on your wall for a lifetime, a family lifestyle session offers an incredible array of backdrops that you’ll be sure to fall in love with. Not only will it look great, but your family will also be more relaxed and excited when you’re hanging out at home together. Mom will have time to get dressed so that EVERYONE looks and feels great during the session! If you’re weary on how to prepare for your session, I have a few tips to put your mind at ease. With these 7 key tips, you’ll be able to conquer those challenges and have a more enjoyable session with your entire family. 

1. Feed Your Kids Before the Family Lifestyle Session

Hungry kids are not happy kids. In fact, hungry kids are often downright irritable and hard to get along with—and that means that you’re going to spend the entire session fighting to get them to smile. Instead, make sure that you’ve had a small meal or a light snack before the session. Try to avoid heavy foods or food that you know has the potential to upset your child’s stomach, but make sure that they’re well-fed and ready for your family lifestyle session.
If you’re worried that the kids may get hungry (or one of your stubborn little darlings refuses to eat), fill a bag with some snacks for the family. Try to choose things that aren’t messy: no chocolate; avoid sticky fingers and messy mouths! You may also want to avoid sugar since that can lead to a spike in energy followed immediately by a crash.  

2. Add Biker Shorts or Leggings to Your Daughter’s Dress

If your daughter insists on wearing a dress or skirt that’s the perfect outfit for your family lifestyle session, consider how likely she is to bounce, tumble, and play during the session. Chances are, if she’s under the age of 9, she’s going to start wiggling at some point. Don’t ruin your favorite picture with a pair of panties or a diaper peeking out at just the wrong moment!
Instead, add biker shorts or leggings to her dress. She’ll be able to play without you having to worry that her underwear will peek out when you least want it to. If you don’t want them to show in the formal pictures, opt for bike shorts that are shorter than her dress. If you’re headed in for a fall or winter shoot, go for leggings that will allow her to twirl and tumble to her heart’s content!

3. Choose Clothes that Suit Your Kids

There are three key tips to keep in mind when you’re choosing clothing for your family members:

  • Make sure it fits the color scheme
  • Avoid characters and text
  • Choose clothing that fits your kids’ personalities

If your son loves stomping around in work boots and flannel just like Dad, find an outfit that reflects that love. If your daughter prefers jeans to dresses, put her in clothing that will make her happy—and if she loves dresses, find the perfect, frilly addition to her wardrobe for your photoshoot.
Family photos are about more than just capturing picture-perfect images of your family. They’re about capturing a moment in time: a moment that reflects who your kids are right now, in this moment. Go for clothing that tells who they are. When you look back on these pictures later, you’ll love that you took the time to fit them.

4. Don’t Stress. Location Doesn’t Matter as Much as You Think

Are you worried about picking the perfect location for your family photos? Don’t be! Location doesn’t matter nearly as much as you think it does. I focus on your faces and the moments you’re creating much more than on the landscape.
I’ve gotten some fantastic photos of families in their living rooms or their own backyards. Often, we can get incredible shots in your neighborhood. Chances are, you’re going to cherish those memories much more in 10 years than you would if, for example, you took pictures of your family in a random park. Instead of worrying about the backdrop, set the mood that you want to create for your family lifestyle session. Don’t stress about the location!

5. Mom Comes First

Let’s face it: we are more critical of ourselves than we are of anyone else. Instead of focusing on what the kids are going to be wearing, then throwing something together for yourself at the last minute, start with your outfit. If you look and feel good, you will be far more confident during the session. Then, build everyone else’s outfits around your own.
This is a big change for a lot of moms, who tend to start by putting together perfect matching outfits for the kids. “Just look at how adorable they’ll be!” you tell yourself. Then, you find yourself trying on dozens of outfits for yourself and ultimately settling for something that’s “good enough.”
Instead, pick your outfit first. Pick out something that makes you feel beautiful, and take some time for yourself to feel refreshed. You’ll be amazed by how much of a difference it makes when the time comes for your session. You’ll be more positive; you’ll be less likely to hide; and you’ll significantly increase the odds that you’ll fall in love, not just with the pictures of your kids, but with the pictures of you.

6. Don’t Expect Your Kids to Look Straight at Me and Smile the Whole Time We’re Together

We’ll try to get that great shot for the grandparents. You know the one: everyone is turned and looking straight at the camera with bright smiles. No one is blinking. Everything is picture-perfect. That might be great for the grandparents, but it’s not the goal of our session. Instead, I want to capture the essence of your family: that amazing feeling that you have right now.
Don’t prep the kids by telling them to “say cheese” and look straight at me. Don’t insist that they stare straight at the camera. If that’s how we start the session, you’ll end up with nothing but clearly-posed pictures—and, most of the time, plastic smiles that don’t display any real joy at all.
Instead, have a little fun with your session. Hug your kids. Exchange a kiss or two. Play together. Don’t be afraid to look at each other with love in your eyes instead of staring at me. Let the camera fall away and just enjoy the time and the session with your family. You’ll be far more likely to get pictures that you love—and love looking back on when this season of your life is long past.

7. Don’t Wait for the “Perfect Moment”

Don’t wait:

  • until you’ve lost 5, 10, or 20 pounds to book.
  • for perfect weather
  • for your kids to be older, or better behaved, or calmer.

The perfect time to do your portraits is now! With these tips to survive your session, the only tip left is to book ASAP! Every day your kids get a little older, and you get a little closer to entering a new chapter of your lives together.
Your daughter might outgrow those amazing moments when she twirls around, dancing as though no one can see her, and your son might outgrow those dirty knees on his pants, or the toothless smile that lights up your entire day. Don’t miss out on the chance to capture those memories!

A Fly on the Wall

During your family lifestyle session, I’ll do my best to freeze time, just for a little while. I will make sure to capture your kids and your family as you are now, in this season of your lives. This will give you the chance to look back and remember those little details that slowly fade with time: the precious smiles; the twinkle in their eyes; the personalities that will shine through no matter what else they’re doing. Don’t wait to schedule that important session. Instead, head in and get it done so that you can keep those memories. Things might never be perfect, but this is your now—and I want to capture it for you.
You can find dozens of excuses to put off your family lifestyle session. There’s always a reason why “now” isn’t the right moment. Don’t give in to those excuses! Instead, let’s get your photo session planned so that you can enjoy it. Contact me to get your free consultation today! 
Your lifestyle session is an amazing opportunity to have fun with your family and keep the evidence for the rest of your lives. If you’re ready to book your amazing family lifestyle session or you have more questions for me, contact me! I can’t wait to start working with you and your family to capture family photos you’ll love.

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