Member, Professional Photographers of America

Tips for a Successful Session

Smith Family Photography developed from a need that I had as a mother.  We have a "his-mine-ours" type of family, which consists of nine children.  Family photograph sessions with a family that size are typically very expensive and stressful.  Kids do not want to cooperate.  They fight.  They argue.  They give goofy faces.  They are KIDS!  Although they are kids, photographers have a set amount of time they can spend at each session, which just adds to the stress. 

My country girls.

My country girls.

As a mother, I hated photography sessions and the majority of the time I was less than impressed with the results.  I wanted to provide an affordable photography service specifically for families.  I strive to provide a relaxed atmosphere for the session and understand kids are kids.  A little bit of patience goes a long way with them, as I found out during my time as an elementary teacher. 

When you book a session with us, you will more than likely get to meet members of my family.  After all, Smith Family Photography is a family company and we all work together to provide a service to our clients.

I am constantly researching various areas of photography and currently I have been doing a TON of research on helping my clients prepare for their upcoming session.  I have heard many clients tell me that they want to have a family session, but they don't think their kids will cooperate and it will just be stressful.  I can honestly say that was me a few years ago! 

I recently stumbled upon an article titled, 101 Family Picture Tips and Ideas by  This artcle is FANTASTIC!!  They discuss so much more than getting kids to cooperate! 

1.  Printable Planner.  The site has a printable planner that you can use to help organize all the session during the planning stage.  You can access it here. 

2.  Choosing a Photographer.  I would love to work with you and your family, however I do realize that for whatever reason we might not be able to do so.  In such an instance, I can give you some referrals for other photographers in the area that might meet your needs. 

3.  Choosing a Location.  After you have chosen a photographer, you can nail down your location.  This is typically done at the same time as actually hiring a photographer.  You might have a specific location in mind, but if you need assistance in choosing a location I am happy to do so and provide you with example portraits from those locations.  I have several "favorite" locations that I like to use in Limestone County and Waco.  One of my favorite locations is at a private family ranch.  No other photographers have access to this location which includes a covered bridge!

Rustic exclusive location with a covered bridge.

Rustic exclusive location with a covered bridge.

4. use or not to use.  For family sessions I like to keep props to a minimum if they are used at all.  I don't want the props to distract from the family.  With seniors on the other hand, they typically need some props to personalize their session.  The same can be said for small children.  They need things to keep their interest.  I like to talk with the client and determine what type of images they'd like to have hanging on their wall and go from there when deciding whether or not to use props.

5.  Poses.  After the session is booked, I will begin planning the session.  This includes possible poses.  I will actually make a list of poses that I'd love to use for your family.  Each list is unique in that no two lists are ever the same.  I want your session to be just as unique as your family is - no two families are the exact same so why should their photos look the same?

6.  Clothes - What should we wear?  Last week's blog was all about what to wear.  You can read it here.

7.  How to Look Good in Front of the Camera.  There are several stances you can do to make yourself look more flattering in front of the camera.  Most things are simple, quick adjustments to your position, posture, and stance. 

8.  Getting Your Kids to Cooperate.  Rewards, bribes, peek-a-boo, singing, magic words, etc...nothing it seems is off limits when it comes to finding ways to get kids to cooperate.  What I have found is that they need time away from the camera every now and then.  They need to play and have fun!

Even when kids are taking a break, you can get authentic photographs of them!

Even when kids are taking a break, you can get authentic photographs of them!

9.  Getting Your Husband to Cooperate.  Bribes, rewards, compromises...they all work with husbands too!  Include your husband in the planning.  Chances are he won't want to help plan for the session, but at least you are doing your best to include him and make him a part of the session.  No one likes being told what to wear, how to stand, where to sit.  Give him some ownership in the session.

10.  Ordering Your Portraits.  Yes, ordering your portraits in printed form.  After all, you want nice photographs to display proudly on your walls and to give family members prints for their walls.  I recently began to offer prints rather than a disc and the main reason for doing so is that a disc so many times gets shoved in some random drawer and the portraits are as good as gone.  You went through all that hassle to plan a session, get everyone's outfits to coordinate, spend a lot of time on location with a photographer, and you want a disc??  Or would you rather have nice, professional quality prints that will arrive ready to be displayed on your walls?  Every session with me includes an online gallery that makes ordering prints (and digitals if you wish) extremely easy from the comfort of your home. 

11.  Displaying Your Portraits.  Looking for unique ways to display your beautiful, professional quality prints?  This article has several examples that are unique!  When I work on your portraits in post production, I have this very thing in mind.  I want all of your portraits to look uniform so that they can proudly be displayed by themselves or together in a large group.  I view the portraits that I work on as a work of art that should be displayed on your walls for years to come.

The article also includes a few extra tips that don't really fit into any of the above categories.  You can read the full article here.  If you are interested in booking a session, please don't hesitate to contact me.  Now is the perfect time of year with the holidays quickly approaching.