You want to know something crazy? Not everyone is comfortable in front of the camera!? I know, I can’t believe it either. But, joking aside, sometimes family photoshoots can make people really uncomfortable. We know we will want the photos but the act of getting there can be a little nerve-wracking. I thought I’d try to assemble a few tips to try to make you more comfortable.
First and foremost, pick a photographer that you’re comfortable with. There are a myriad of photographers out there – more than one for every person that wants to do family photos. Do your research and find one that you really click with. Do the phone or coffee shop consult and find a photographer who is willing to be flexible and be honest with them about your reservations. Most of us have tricks to help you relax during the shoot but it’s important to know going it to it if your anxieties are higher than normal.
Second, wear something that makes you feel amazing. This is tip #1 I give when consulting on what to wear. You need to wear something that you’re not going to be thinking about and pulling at the entire shoot. Better yet, find something that makes you feel like a rock star or a divine goddess. Or just something that you don’t have to think about the entire session. Perhaps getting your hair or make up done for the mommas or a fresh barber shave and cut for the dudes. Find a look that makes you feel powerful!
Third, and this one seems weird, try to forget that we’re here. I know it sounds odd because we’re in front of you with a big honkin lens asking you to do silly things like “hug her from behind and whisper your favorite breakfast cereals in her ear – in your best cookie monster voice”. But if you can get lost in the moment and trust your photographer, you often show your best side to them without even noticing.
Fourth, relax and move. People who are anxious in front of the camera often will stand and smile or sit and smile and not budge. They end up stiff and uncomfortable. Relax and move! It’s okay not to look at me. It’s okay not to smile for a second. I’ll be there asking you to think about things or look at things but don’t feel like you have to sit bone still. Lean in, hug, look at your partner and smile. Have a little fun and take a deep breath. It will show in your images.
And lastly, shoot someplace you where you feel happy. Most times your photographer will have a favorite place or a suggestion but if you’re really anxious, suggest a place that makes you happy and you feel most comfortable. Maybe you like this garden, a park down the road, or even your backyard. Our ultimate goal is to capture you and your family looking happy and relaxed and having fun so if that mean we use a place we’re not familiar with, that’s totally fine.
Most of all, tell us. Even if we’re in the middle of a shoot and you suddenly get anxious about something – let us know and we can help adjust to make it less so. Our only goal is to make your photography experience a delightful one so that we can photograph your family at their happiest. One of the best comments I hear at the end of a session is that, “that was so much fun” or “that was no as painful as I’d imagined it to be”.