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5 ways to rock your family session

Oh wow! The weather the last few days has been just the most beautiful...and hot! I was so happy to have a chill session on Sunday morning with my one of my best friends and her little family of 3. Especially after something hectic like a wedding (which I'm totally rocking out the editing for, by the way), it's nice to take a second to photograph something that's very low-key. 

 

I've done a lot of family sessions and though I do like some of the more posed images and I know that those ones are often the best for formally hanging on a wall, my favorite images are always, without hesitation, the random  images of acts of love and everyday life that sneak their way into the frame. When a session tells a story - well, it's all heart-eyes for me! 

 

Like I said in my last post, it's so easy to get caught up in making everything perfect. For this simple session on Sunday, I brought both of my cameras with two different lenses, ready for anything and expecting variety. What I found was that I fell in love with the first few images I got from a lens that I haven't used in a while and I ended up shooting the entire session on it. I just love when things work out way better than expected. 

 

Getting your photo taken can be a pretty awkward thing. Hey, I'm even pretty awkward taking them sometimes, if we're being honest. But there are some things that you can remember to rock out your session and leave feeling really good about it:

Your clothes. Forgettaboutem.

I mean, don' t come naked or anything. I'm just saying - don't stress over it! Pick a color - like in this session it was blue. Just blue. Dad wore navy, Baby wore robin's egg,  Mama wore a print dress that had some blue in it somewhere (maybe it didn't even - see? You totally don't have to worry). Just remember - words on shirts typically don't end up looking right (unless the shirt is special in some way, then we will make it work). If there is something special with words that you just have to have in your photos, bring it along, but bring something neutral as well. Simple outfit changes are better than half words that may or may not turn into naughty words when you're turned to the side. Just sayin'.

Your photographer. Forgettabouter.

This one can be hard. So, I'm there to take your picture, right? Well, forget about me. I won't be offended, cross my heart. Here's my best advice: if you have small kids in your family -  PLAY WITH THEM. That's it. I guarantee you, within 20 minutes of just playing - tickling, blowing bubbles, dancing, running - you will have at least 50 images of pure joy and love. If you have older kids - sit with them and talk. Ask them questions about their week, their day, heck! Ask them about what they want to be when they grow up or graduate or who they want to be next week even. This is your chance to take a second out of your busy schedules to truly look at your children and get to know who they are in that moment. Or, you know, you can tell each other fart jokes and that will get you just as many giggles and quality family moments as well! The end result should be that your family is engrossed in one another rather than staring blankly at me and my camera. 

Bring all the things!

Hold on. Don't really bring ALL of your things. But some bubbles, a cute book, or even an old family photo album can go a long way. If playing or simply chatting with your family is tough (it's ok to admit this - I have a hard time playing with my kids in front of people...like, it feel awkward sometimes!), bring something along to take your mind off of being papparazzied by me. A book to read the littles - they'll either ignore you and play or they'll love the story, either way, moment created! Bubbles? Everyone loves bubbles! For older families - an album of old family photos can be pretty entertaining. Especially if they are embarrassing baby photos or your old brace-faced prom photos. Gold. 

Timing is everything. 

As a photographer, it is my absolute duty to let you know that the best time of day to take photos is before or after the sun has hit its highest point. This means early or late sessions. For me, 9 am and 7 pm are where it's at! A great big HOWEVER though - if your kids are super angry at these times or there's no way your teenager is getting out of bed any earlier than noon, please let me know and we will work it out. Having a family of my own, I totally understand how sometimes it. just. doesn't. work. But if you can - let's plan a time when the sun isn't beating straight at your face and making everyone make blinded squinty faces. 

Let go. 

My last piece of advice for your family session is simply, let go. We all have stressful schedules that we are trying to keep up with and being perfect (and wanting to seem like we are perfect) is always the ultimate end goal of a photo session. But here's a secret - your session will not be perfect and it's so much better that way. Yes, we will get shots of you and your family perfectly posed and smiling at the camera - those are frame-worthy. But then, when you let go and just be, we will  capture photos of those in-between moments that are like breathing in fresh summer air - the ones that make you inhale quickly and then exhale slowly. The photos that make you feel good inside. The ones that make your heart flutter and your skin tingle. The ones that remind you of how your little girl's curly hair smelled of lilacs and baby lotion. The ones that remind you of your little boy grabbing your face and planting a big one on your lips. Let go...and let's make magic happen.  

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Heather Stern Photography, LLC

Fenton, MI           |       heather@heathersternphotography.com