Tell me, does this story sound familiar to you? You just booked your annual family photos. These images are so special to you, and you know how important it is to capture each fleeting season of your lives while the kids are young. And yet, you have butterflies in your stomach because it’s time for you to share with your partner that family photos are approaching…
Don’t worry mama, you’re not alone! After years of photographing families, I can promise you, this is very common! In fact, the same story plays out in my own household every year. Here are a few tips that I think can really help dad warm up to the idea of family photos.
Set Reasonable Expectations: One of the main reasons parents stress heading into family photos is that they are worried their children will ‘misbehave’ or cry and make it a nightmare. As a parent of two wild little boys, I can relate to this fear! Here’s the thing… kids are kids. Sometimes we set unreasonable expectations for them in our minds, which always leads to disappointment. Instead, try walking into your session without an expectation for perfect behavior. Not only am I a mother, but for years I was a kindergarten and first grade teacher. Trust me when I tell you there is no behavior I haven’t seen and dealt with before. Instead of going into your session hoping your children will suddenly behave like angels and follow every direction without batting an eye, just let them be kids, laugh through the process, and trust me when I tell you I will make your child’s tantrum about having his 4th juice box for the day look like gold on camera.
Provide Reassurance: Reassure your partner that it is not their job to manage the children during the session. As the photographer, it is MY job to facilitate moments that will look natural and beautiful on camera. It’s my job to jump around like a monkey, sing silly songs, and chase your child through a field while clicking away at the shutter. Also, reassure him that he will NOT be in front of the camera the whole time. Yes, I will take photos of all of you together, and photos of him with the kids. But I will also take photos of mom with the kids and the kids alone. He will have breaks and opportunities to relax. I promise!
Compromise on outfits: It took me a few years to accept this one. I will send you a wardrobe guide with suggestions for beautiful family photo outfits. But if your husband is like mine, he might not be comfortable in dress shoes and a button up shirt. If that’s the case, find a way to compromise so that he can feel comfortable in his own skin and look like (the best version of) himself in your photos. That said, if your spouse loves dressing up, DO IT!
Encourage him to be him: The best photos are the ones where dad is genuinely having fun with the kids, so let him know to let loose a little and just be himself like he normally is with the children. Those are the images that elicit memories that you’ll cherish the most!
HIRE A PROFESSIONAL: This is a big one. Most of the time if someone hates family photos and feels immensely uncomfortable, it’s because they have had bad experiences before. Hire a photographer with a tried-and-true approach to working with and managing children and who knows how to make it a fun and easy experience for all. Did I mention I used to teach kindergarten…?