Oh my goodness, do I have the cutest session ever to share! If you follow along on my blog or Instagram (@hsrphoto) you have seen this family, plenty. It’s my BFF and her darling little ones! I thought this post could be a great opportunity to educate you on family sessions + encourage something a little more fun… like a styled shoot. This family has been begging me to do something like this for-ever! I’m allowing myself to be for real here, as you will probably agree, family sessions are a real s#$@ show. Right?! Can I get an Amen for a photographer who admits this? It’s a daunting task to choose outfits – to look put-together without being too matchy-matchy. Then, praying/begging the kids to be good after you’ve spent all this time + $$$ + effort for this perfect photograph for your home or holiday card. Because as we all know, kids are always on their best behavior during these sessions.Well, I’ve come up with 5 helpful tips to achieve a splendid family session.
1. Timing. Choose a time that is best for the little ones, not your schedule. I find that kids under the age of 4 do better in the AM. However, with this shoot, we worked it in after naps and right before dinner, to get in hair + make up appointments. Trust me, there were melt-downs, but we had several iPads and (non-messy) snacks for a quick recovery! I was so proud of them!
2. Clothing. Pick cute duds that match the personality of the child. Maria and I have the same taste, so this session was super easy to style. In the past we’ve tried putting cute outfits on her little ones that they just hated + trust me, we were punished during the session for this! (No matter how much bribery was involved!) There is not enough ice cream or baby dolls in the world to make them do what we want. We found most of the outfits when we were on a recent girl’s trip in Scottsdale! Holla, Zara Kids! Don’t feel like you have to buy everything new, start by working with the best pieces already in the closet and add what you need to make it amazing.
3. Props. Kids love props + tangible items! If they are having a melt-down moment, it’s a great opportunity to give them something to do or hold. I also love to contain them in one area (with the tent or using a crate or stool). This way they can stay put in my area of best lighting. But really most importantly, I’m not running around like a crazy woman chasing them!
4. Develop a relationship with your photographer. I’ve been photographing this family forever. We are going on 6 years now with everyone. The kids are used to me. They did have an advantage by spending a couple days prior to the shoot hanging with us at our house (they live in KC). I was able to prep them with ways to smile without saying CHEESE! They were so proud of themselves for giving me the perfect soft smile, serious face and real giggles. I also worked with Eden, the oldest, on poses. She nailed it, and I’m ready to be her agent. ha ha! Tripp, who is only 2, was so so good and followed the lead of his sisters. For this shoot, we were going for a little more serious.
5. Have fun, be different + think outside the box. That doesn’t mean coming to your photographer with Pinterest must-haves. Let your photographer have the creativity, spontaneity + freedom to do as they will at the session. Just give little hints to your style and how your home is decorated. Little ones do and say the darndest things, so I always let them lead the session, and with minimal direction from the parents.
So tell me, are your little ones wild or tame during a session? I like a little bit of both, so don’t be afraid, be brave and book a session!
Young, Wild + Free wouldn’t have been so perfect without these amazing people – Sweet Melissa for hair + make up, Belli Fiori for the beautiful flowers, Courtney Callahan Paper for the banner + The White Rabbit for the stool + paper mâché elephant head. If you haven’t met these gals you need to! And everyone knows The White Rabbit is my favorite local boutique.
Scroll to the bottom for outfit finds!
Tent – B. E. Little you and me, Etsy
Black tank – Diane Von Furstenburg
Skirt – Chelsea & Violet
Shoes – Christian Louboutin
Necklace – Stella & dot
Bracelet – Cartier
Tux – Hemrajani, custom
Shoes – Farragamo
Animal top, tulle skirt with stars - Zara kids
Black boots – Jelly beans
Feather headband – A tiny arrow, Etsy
Polka-dot top – Zara kids
Gold Boots – Dr. Martens
Feather Bloomers – Million Polkadots
Animal Felt Masks – Magical Attic, Etsy
Star top – Nununu baby
Camo pants – Marloe Jr.
Black kicks – Nike low dunks