5 TIPS FOR CAPTURING CANDID MOMENTS DURING FAMILY SESSIONS
When I first started out, family sessions were my biggest struggle. I felt so much pressure before during and after the session. Mom usually arrives very stressed, from trying to pick the perfect outfits for the whole family, making sure the no one spills on their shirt, or gets into the mud, all the while trying to make herself look like she doesn’t wear yoga pants and no make up every other day (trust me, I’m NOT judging, I’m actually describing myself here). She gets out of the car fiddling with every ones hair, checking her makeup and hair, fussing at her husband to get off the phone, you can just read the stress all over her pretty made up face.
Then, theirs Dad’s face….you know the face of complete and utter disgust that he is missing the LSU game on a Saturday evening, because they are playing during golden hour. You can’t miss that face. He doesn’t want to be their. He hates pictures and his wife knows he hates pictures, so in return, his wife is annoyed that he can’t just suck it up and act like he’s enjoying the ONE thing she asks of him each year.
Then you have the kids….Ohhhh the kids! They’re moods are all over the place. They’re either tired and cranky because it’s nap time, or they’ve been in school all day, or they’re in full throttle ready to take full advantage of the situation (you know, the situation where, “we’re with a stranger, so Mom’s not going to punish us or fuss at us for acting up, in front of her”….yeah, that situation)!
So there stands you, thinking in your head, “oh yea, this is just gonna go grrrreat”, while on the outside you put on your biggest smile, and project your “perkiest” voice.
So exactly how do I get everyone to loosen up and warm up? Here are 5 little tips I’ve found to work for me.
TIP NUMBER ONE
Don’t let them know you’re shooting!! You know, fib a little….tell them “y’all just relax for a second, I need to adjust my camera settings”….this is when you can get the sweet shots of Mom making sure everyones cheeks are clean and shirts are straight etc.
TIP NUMBER TWO
Gross words! If the kids are giving you the big cheeeeeeese grins, or even the whole family at that, it’s time to loosen them up, I do that by blurting out those inappropriate words like, “fart”, “barf”, “dog poo”….sometimes the parents are appalled, but they catch on quick, once they see those genuine laughs and smiles. 🙂
TIP NUMBER THREE
The old faithful tickle! I mean come on, this one should be a given. No kid is immune to being ticklish and no parent can resist the sound of their child’s giggle!
TIP NUMBER FOUR
The whisper, the kiss, or the tight, tight hug! No one can resist smiling when you’re listening to a secret, whether you understand whats being said or not. No baby can resist a big, fat, kiss on their chubby little cheeks. And a big, tight bear hug, while being coached from the Photographer “tighter, tighter, TIIIIIGHTER” is always good for some real and silly grins and giggles.
TIP NUMBER FIVE
Let them play! If the baby wants to play in the leaves, encourage Dad to go play in the leaves with him. If the kiddo’s want to run through the water, make sure you to leave time for them to do just that. I guarantee that is when you’ll get their most authentic smiles and emotion!
I hope these tips help someone when they’re stuck in a rut during their next family session, trying to get the family to just relax and enjoy just being together as a family.