October 24, 2018

What to Expect During Family Photos | The Allen Family

What to Expect During Family Photos

One of the BEST parts of being a photographer is getting to know families and making new friends.  The Allen family is one of those families.  I have been working with them since their oldest was a toddler.  Since then, I have watched them add THREE more boys to their family.  To say their momma is the definition of a boy mom is an understatement.  She is super mom!  Through all of our sessions together, I think she has mastered what to expect during family photos!

You would think dressing 4 boys, loading them up in a car, and getting to a photo shoot location would be stressful.  Well, you don’t have to think, I’m sure it is!  But… this family has gotten awesome at our sessions and their expectations of the boys.  They know these boys are not going to sit or stand still for long, so they don’t pressure them to do anything.  There’s no fussing at them about how they are smiling or what they are doing.  They simply enjoy the boys, and it shows in their pictures each and every time.

So…. what should you expect during family photos?

1. Don’t expect to stand and smile the whole time.  This is boring for kids and honestly, it’s boring for me to edit!  I LIVE for interactions.  Don’t expect perfect smiles.  If you pressure your kids to smile, you are going to get a fake cheese smile.  I want to capture giggles and REAL smiles.  So if it takes tackling dad, chasing a kid through a field, laying down to have a tickle fight, or pretending to pick boogers, we will do it.  Plan to look at the camera only about 10% of the time.  Really 😉

2. Plan to have fun.  Almost every single one of my family photo sessions ends with dad saying “That’s it?” “Wow, that was easier than I thought it would be!” “That went SO much better than last time we took pictures.”  Hopefully I’m not jinxing myself, but I truly believe that if you play games and let loose with your family, that you will get the pay off when you see your pictures.  I know you want to look great in your pictures, I get it!  BUT if you are constantly fixing hair, straightening skirts, wiping noses, and pulling down collars, you are going to lose the moment.  Sooooo, take a deep breathe, try not to worry, and leave all the work up to me.

3. Don’t stress.  There are SO many things in life worth stressing about.  Photo sessions should not be one of them!  I know I’ve said this a million times, but they should be fun!  Since most of my outdoor locations are green spaces and fields, it should be like a day at the park with your family.

4. Watch YOUR expectations.  Do you have a serious baby?  If so he or she may not smile, and that’s ok!  It’s their personality.  We may get other really cute expressions.  If we stare at baby and work on getting a smile that doesn’t come, we will miss all of the other cute things that he or she does.  Do you have a shy child?  It may take time to warm up.  Just because you are in front of the camera does not mean they are going to be any different.  Embrace being YOU!


 What to Expect During Family Photos | The Allen Family
You NEVER know what you are going to get with 4 boys!  My very favorite picture from this session is the middle one with mom in the center.  We tried laying down for about 30 seconds.  There were legs flailing everywhere, mom’s dress kept getting pulled up, the toddler kept escaping….  We aborted mission really quickly, and I got to my computer to find this gem.  Look at big brother’s face.  THIS my friends is what it is all about.  That face is NOT staged.  It’s true love, and that momma in the middle is the center of ALL these boys lives and hearts.

Nashville Family Photographer

I photograph all of my family sessions past the newborn stage outside at sunset.  Sunset is my favorite time of day because of the beautiful lighting.  I feel like the lighting sets a mood and look that makes your pictures stand apart from others.  The great thing about this time of day is that EVERY day is different.  Some days are huge glowing sunsets, other days are cloudy with the sun barely peeking out.  I love this because it makes EVERY session unique.  I do not photograph family sessions mid-November through early March because of temperatures.  If it’s too cold for me to be outside, I know it will be too cold for a baby or toddler.  I am currently booked for 2018 family sessions, but I’d love to see your family in 2019!

 What to Expect During Family Photos | The Allen Family
Baby Corbin was super distracted outside, and that’s ok! He loved playing on the quilt, and we were able to capture two of his milestones: sitting and tummy time.

Nashville Baby Photographer

Isn’t Baby C precious??? We used his family session as his 6 month sitter session.  He wasn’t fully sitting up, so we had to help him out with a bucket.  Which turned out oh so cute, I might add!  He was too distracted by the grass to smile at us for that one, but look at that cute face!  No smile needed.  However, he LOVED playing on the quilt on his tummy.  He turned on the charm for those pictures!


Shannon, I love all the tips and tricks you shared! So much easier when there is no expectation of smiles all the time! GREAT ADVISE!!! You truly capture the most amazing family sessions! Such genuine interaction!

 She is indeed a super mom! What a fantastic session and such great tips as well. You captured this family as just that, a family. I love all of the interaction and closeness in each image. Just beautiful.

LOVVVVVE all these tips!! Your clients are so lucky to have you to capture their moments. You do such an amazing job of photographing the tender moments. Gorgeous!