Article Summary

  1. Mentally prepare yourself to channel love and joy instead of frustration and stress.
  2. Visually show your kids how much you love them at your shoot and be their number one fan!
  3. Don’t be too hard on them, let little things go that you might not normally.
  4. Plan ahead to get ready with plenty of time before your session to eliminate stress.
  5. Keep them going with candy and rewards.
  6. Trust us, we know what we’re doing!

1. Remember your most special moments with your family

Do you remember the first day you met your new baby? That sweet smell, the euphoria after holding them close on your chest for the first time? Do you remember the excitement you felt over every little accomplishment as they took their first steps or had their first real laugh? When thinking about your family photo session, we want you to hold onto the memories and the emotions you felt surrounding those moments. We want you to think of how proud you are of your kids, how much you love them, and how much they mean to you going into your shoot.


2. Visually cram all your love for them into 1 hour

In order for us to get these genuine images, you have to let your genuine adoration show. Let your kids know how much they are adored, cram all your love for them into 1 hour! This is important! You have 1 hour to SHOW your family how much you love them! You need to visually put your love for them on display! Don’t be afraid to over love your kids, you can’t embarrass yourself for loving your kids too much. They want to know how much you love them because you are where they get their assurance and confidence. The more love and affection you give them, the more opportunity for us to photograph it and capture your family’s love on camera. Hug them, squeeze them, play with them, throw them up and chase after them, make fart noises in your boys ears, kiss them all over until they’re laughing uncontrollably (or violently swatting you away!). And guess what! If your kids aren’t pressured or stressed to perform, they might be in a good mood. And if you’re standing by their side cheering them on and showing them some PDA, they probably won’t be misbehaving either.


3. Don’t be too hard on them

One of the biggest barriers that prevents us from capturing genuine moments and emotions is the parents themselves. Isn’t that ironic? The ones who want so badly to capture these moments of joy and spontaneity often are the ones who smother it out by trying too hard to control their families. Many times, too much control, too many rules, and too many times saying “no” can actually become overbearing and deflate children’s sense of joy, adventure, spontaneity, and excitement. As parents, it is your job to channel the emotions you want your kids to feel during the photo shoot. If you’re nervous, your kids will feel nervous. If you’re restricting them too much, your kids will feel defeated and want the photos to be over. We want photo sessions to be a joyful positive experience and a fun time each year, not a chore that is a relief when it’s over. So how does this work then? You might be saying, “Dan and Tyler, you don’t understand, my kids are CRAZY and if I just let them off the leash we won’t get any cute photos!”. We totally understand that! We still want them to be self controlled, but we want to caution you as parents not to be too overbearing and discouraging to them. Like everything in life, there is a delicate balance between gentle, positive correction and correction stemming from frustration. Overall, the best, most genuine images that you will love come from a positive, fun, light hearted, sunny disposition during photo shoots.

4. Plan ahead

To create an environment free from stress and misbehavior, you have to create it and plan ahead to eliminate it. One of the biggest causes of stress comes from rushing to get out of your house on time. We encourage you to take way more time than you would normally need to get everyone ready! If you need to arrive to the location early to get your kids ready in the car, make sure you account for that– and traffic! Most of our sessions are scheduled around rush hour because that’s when the sun is most flattering. Additionally, we encourage you to NOT let your kids nap in the car before a session. No one likes being woken up from naps. It’s especially unpleasant to be woken up and immediately expected to put on a happy face and have fun. If you need to give them a bit of sugar ahead of time to keep them going, do so sparingly.


5. A little bribe goes a long way

When it comes to sugar, a little bribe goes a long way! Our favorite sugary snack is the small hot chocolate marshmallows. They’re the perfect photo shoot treat because they look just like teeth in photos! Gummies are good but they take a bit longer to chew. Avoid messy, colorful snacks that could dirty outfits or stain teeth. If there’s one day to spoil you kids, photo shoot day might be that day. We have some families that reward their kids for a good shoot by giving them toys, desserts, or planned family outings following the shoot. What do your kids LOVE? Is it something you could promise your children if they are well behaved during the shoot? We want to encourage you to think about what your kids will respond to in order to get fun, genuine images out of them.


6. Trust us

We photograph dozens of families each year, we’ve been doing this for over 6 years, and have never met a family that we couldn’t photograph. We are professionals who are not only proficient at what we do but we are also passionate about what we do and care deeply for each and every family that chooses to trust us to take their photos. Have concerns for your family specifically? We encourage you to let us know ahead of time so we can provide any help or reassurance you might need. Our sessions are usually very thought out and structured to encourage both formal and spontaneous images. If kids just aren’t responding well to the structure, we will shift gears into a candid lifestyle type session which puts less pressure on getting those formal photos smiling at the camera in our usual order and more focus on capturing your family interacting with one another. We will always be keeping an eye out for opportune moments and tricks to get everyone smiling at the camera.