After having taken several rounds of family photos, today I’m sharing my 5 main tips on how to tackle that big day with kids! Trust me, you’re going to want to read this!
It’s that time of year again! Family photo time! While we like to do ours twice a year (Sometimes even three- don’t hate me Ara!!), most people tend to theirs in that nice stretch of time at the end of fall when it’s not too cold yet.
Why? Well holiday cards of course! If you’re planning on mailing out your cards beginning of December, you generally should plan on taking the photos by mid November. And if you’re thinking of splurging on professional pictures, you’re in luck because generally photographers offer fall mini sessions around this time. Mini sessions are a great way to get some photos for your card, or to frame. They’re generally less expensive than a regular session and they are shorter in duration. More on this later, but you actually want them to be short when it comes to shooting with kids!
We wrapped ours up mid October and are patiently waiting for them to come back from our photographer Lisa Renault!
Side note- if you’re in the Montreal area, she does the most beautiful family photos!
The photos I’m sharing today are actually from last years fall session with Lisa- for those of you who follow me on Instagram, can you spot the one that made it to our Christmas card?!
We shoot with Lisa a few times a year for family pics and you can imagine I have many a good experience, and many tough moments with the kiddo’s. It’s like when you need them to sit still for 2 minutes, they just won’t do it 😉
Wondering the secret in how to take good family photos? I’m sharing mine right here:
Coordinate your Outfits
Neutrals are a great starting point because they will work in any background. For example in these pictures, the neutral colors really let the leaves shine through and the light! I don’t like to be too matchy matchy so I’ll pick two colors and then just stick to shades in those colors. In this instance, beige with pops of blue. Ara’s sweater, Shiraz’s pants and Aren’s pants are all different shades of blue, but they still work really well together because everything else is neutral.
Get that shot you’re dying for first
Shooting with kids is hard. If you know there are one or two specific shots you want, aim to shoot those first before the kids are tired. I find mine are usually fairly calm the first 2-3 minutes while they’re taking in their surroundings. To minimize confusion, try to find a similar photo online first and save it to your camera roll. That way your photographer knows exactly what you want and you don’t lose time changing angles etc.
We usually do all the shots I really want first, and then just go with the flow for the rest of the shoot. It makes for great pictures. Some very styled shots, but then lots of natural moments. You want both 😉
Shooting with small kids is not going to go smoothly the whole entire time. You have to manage your own expectations! Don’t show up with a list of 15 shots you want to get- it’s not going to happen and everyone is going to frustrated. On our last shoot, I just knew that it was going to be tough based on Shiraz’s current attention span. I told myself I’d be ok with just 4 or 5 good shots. And we got that, plus more.
Bring a change of clothes
Definitely necessary with small kids. You never know when a diaper will explode or someone will find a random puddle to jump into.
Time the shoot
Obviously you don’t always get to pick the time, but I like to make sure that it’s not right near a meal time. Cranky hungry babies do not make for easy photo shoot subjects. Same goes with nap time- if it’s too close to nap time, it’s not going to work! I think we often times think we can persuade our child to be well behaved for just ten minutes close to a meal or a nap but it doesn’t always work. Children can be stubborn- In our last shoot, Aren pouted for minutes 5-10 because he wanted to take a picture near a specific tree. Stubborn 😉
And in regards to timing, aim for a mini session. Both the kids and Ara are about to kill by minute 18 or 19 of a family session. They’re not going to last the full hour. Save your money and do a mini!!
For reference my children are 1.5 and 3 years old. We’ve been doing family pics since Aren was about 10 months old and we always do mini sessions!
Have any other tips to share? I’d love to hear them!
Ps you can see one of our previous sessions here! This was one series I absolutely adored 😉
All photographs by Lisa Renault