Let the Last Hour be the Best Hour
How to enjoy your family photo session and get real, raw, EMOTIONAL photos you love
Your photography session is an investment, literally and figuratively. It’s your time, your thoughts, your efforts, your money and your memories. So much of the work goes into it before the photography even begins. By the time you actually get to photo day, you may be stressed and even dreading it. There are so many factors that could go wrong; you’re running late, you spent all your time getting everyone else ready and there was no time for you, the kids didn’t nap, your partner isn’t feeling it, you’re worried the kids won’t smile or behave or that those extra couple pounds you’ve been trying to lose are going to look like even more on camera. All those doubts can easily get to your head and by the time you get to the location, all you want is for the session to be over.
Does any of this sound familiar? I know many of those scenarios have played out in my family! But guess what? You have to let it all go! You have to breathe, big deep breaths, and remember the photography session is where the magic and memories are made. It’s the most important part and the best part! If you all are happy and genuinely having fun and enjoying each other, that will come across in the photos and that’s what you will remember about the experience. Let the last hour count. Let the last hour be the best hour. But how?
When I say breathe, I literally mean breathe. When you arrive to your session, take some big deep breaths, tell the kids to breathe, tell your husband or wife to do it. In fact, do it all together. I bet you’ll end up laughing or at least smiling. Take a few moments to look around. There’s nothing better than being outside in a beautiful location with your family and nothing to do but enjoy each other. For the next hour you don’t need to think about work, a dirty house or all the loads of laundry waiting for you at home. This is your session and your hour to be free of all that. Breathe in the fresh air, the trees, the grass and the sunshine. Take a look at your parter or your family, a good long look. Aren’t your kids cute? Look at their adorable outfits! How great does your husband or wife look in that shirt or dress? You spent a lot of time and money fussing over those clothes. Take a good look, pat yourself on the back and smile. You all look damn good, you’re together in nature and now it’s time to have some fun already! It’s time to let go of all the stresses of the day and breathe.
The only thing I ask of you and your spouse over the next hour is to be present and to be in the moment. Put your phones away, leave your purse and big heavy bag of stuff at home. Forgot about perfection, it’s not about that. It’s all about the experience, the interactions, your time together and loving the life you’ve created. Soak it in, seriously, soak it in. You created this little family surrounding you and you guys are an awesome unit. Enjoy this hour together! Interact with your children, play with them, tease them, hold them, hug them, dance with them, twirl with them, run with them, throw them in the air. I don’t care what you do, as long as it’s genuine. I promise your kids will love the attention too!
touch and move
Touch!!! Touch is such an important part of photography. Don’t be shy. I’ve seen my fair share of touching in my day and it’s not going to make me uncomfortable. In fact, when you just stand there with your hands at your side, that’s when it get’s a little awkward. You all love each other, let me see it! Hold hands, embrace, touch faces, twirl hair, pinch butts! Flirt with your spouse, it’s fun! Look at him or her the way you did when you fell in love. Close your eyes and embrace the touch and the feelings. It gives you a split second to rest and think about what’s happening in the moment, then move! Movement is life, it’s what we do! It also helps you loosen up! Sway, walk, skip, dance twirl, run, flip your hair or even toss your head back in laughter. I promise I won’t think anything you do is weird!
When your kids hear the words photo and session, they might think forced smiles, awkward posing and no fun. Why not tell them you’re going to go explore a cool new place for an hour while someone photographs it instead? They will probably hear explore and be super excited! Let them run around, let them explore, let them pick flowers, pick up sticks and get their wiggles and giggles out. Give them a little space to just be kids. Stand back and hold your partner’s hand and watch them for awhile. Let them interact with me while you keep your distance. That’s usually how I get the best images of your children. If I need you to stand behind me and try to get them to smile, I promise I’ll ask for your help! Feel free to give the kids a little snack on a blanket and explore for a minute with your partner too. Life is busy and those moments of quiet and calm are rare. Take five minutes to be together as a couple and take in the scenery. The kids will appreciate the break too.
If you are in the moment and genuinely enjoying yourselves, the love and happiness will shine through in the images we create. You won’t have to force anyone in your family to smile because the smiles will come naturally. Believe me, they will be real, and the last hour will be the best hour.