You made your decision on what type of session you want. You choose your location. You've booked your session and paid your deposit. You are feeling accomplished and then panic sets in. We've all been there (including me). As mommas, we always put everyone else 1st and that includes your family session. You've likely been pinning poses and looks you like for month and now that your session is approaching, none of those things are in your closet or seem to be sold anywhere. There are some simple steps to get that Pinterest worthy look at your session and for yourself. Wouldn't it be great to get your gallery back and instantly want to print a beautiful canvas of your entire family and not only your children?
1) The 1st rule I like to follow is you dress you. Everyone else will work around you. Buy something new or not, buy an accessory or not but always wear something that when you look in the mirror you are happy, comfortable and confident. That is easier said than done for most but this is the key to success. You will always be able to coordinate your family. Your husband will wear whatever you want and your kids will look great in anything you choose. Don't be afraid to put yourself 1st and start with you. It will all come together and you will look back and be grateful you followed this step.
2) I personally love subtle, light colors for beach sessions and bold darker colors for farm and woods sessions. When you choose your location, think of what the final image will look like. Will it be a sandy beach with a blue sky, a sunset, or the farm with it's beautiful tree lined paths or the park with palm trees in the background? You want to compliment your scenery, not blend in. One family arrived at the farm this past fall in beautiful gold tones. This at the beach would seem out of place but at the farm the golden light behind them blended perfectly and their gallery was beautiful. The same weekend, a family at the beach arrived in nuetral colors, complimenting the dunes and sand. Both families looked incredible and recognizing where they were really put together the look for their session they wanted.
3) Shoes can make or break you. This is one that often can be missed and then when everyone arrives at the session, it becomes a decision of not matching the look or no shoes. I personally love baby feet so no shoes is always my choice but if it isn't yours, don't forget to match the shoes with your look. You 1st want to choose your shoes and then match your family. You don't want to be in sandals and your family in boots or you in a beautiful boot and your son in character sneakers.
4) That makes rule #4 no sneakers. This is mostly for little boys but nothing is more noticeable than mom in a beautiful outfit, dad in a freshly ironed shirt, your little girl in a sweet dress and dress shoes and your son in a sneaker. A little boy's sneaker will never match what you choose for yourself. Unless it is a converse style shoe, boys sneakers often have very large, dark bottoms with even larger tread. Boys love to play and wiggle at their session (which we welcome) and no fail that sneaker will be more present than their sweet smiles. You won't regret getting a simple boot or dress shoe to tie your look together for your session. If this stresses you, choose a beach session and everyone go barefoot. <----- my favorite!!
5) Prints. This one is tricky. My rule is one person gets a print and everyone else is in a solid that compliments the print. This isn't the rule if your children are in a matching print but let them match and you be the queen in your solid print (that you chose 1st).
6) When you choose your location, think of a hairstyle that is best for you and the type of session you want. A beach session on a windy day can create work for you that you don't need. It is always best to consider an up do or even a partial up do because you want to be able to play during your session and not be limited to only being able to shoot facing against the wind.
7) Communicate with your photographer. I, as with any photographer, want you to be happy and love your images. If you are self conscious about something, let us know so we can be aware of what to avoid at your session. My friend that is a photographer and I laugh all through my sessions because every time she brings her camera up I always yell "lazy eye, fat arm." She knows these are my areas I don't want her to shoot and even though it isn't always possible, she tries to pose me to not capture what I consider my least appealing looks. I'm not suggesting you shout them and after writing this, I'm thinking my technique needs some tweaking but hey, she knows what is important to me and she does a great job for my sessions.
8) Relax. Family sessions can be stressful almost exclusively for mom. You spend an incredible amount of time coordinating, planning and even giving your motivational speech in the car of your expectations. We all do it and we all stress wanting perfect images but sometimes, learning to give some of that up and run in your perfectly planned outfits in the waves to your children make such a better images than anything planned and posed.