• Serena Burroughs

5 Ways To Get Better Images At Your Next Portrait Session

Hi friends!

I'm pretty sure there is a good chunk of us that booked a family session before, that right after we submitted our credit card info to pay for it ... we wondered what we could possibly do, to make sure everything goes smoothly. We want to make sure our investment will pay off - down to the last penny. Been there, done that.

Every year I try walk in your shoes to better understand it's like. I become the client myself and hire a professional for my own family photos!

Just like you, I had to figure out how to avoid the temper tantrums. How to keep the kids from running away from me and how to avoid that full on cry, that would cause red, teary eyes. The last thing we want for photos, really! Trust me, getting your picture taken isn't always easy. And there just wasn't a way mine would ever behave long enough and so on and so on. So many fears, so many reasons not to do any of it.

But I think there is a lot we actually can control. We can prepare and have a huge influence on things, simply by making sure we follow these 5 steps.

1. Don't be afraid to be yourself

Sounds horribly simple, I know. But hear me out.

I know a lot of us want to use the occasion to really get dressed up - And that's fantastic, I encourage it - but there is a way to do it. I think your portrait session should have room for some experimentation, but not too much. Have a dress you reeeeally love? Make sure you feel like yourself in it, and love the way you look.

Love the look of eyeliner? A dramatic smoky eye, but don't have much practice with it? Skip it! Your session might not be the best occasion to try a completely new look.

Chances are you're setting yourself up to dislike your images in the end, not recognizing yourself in the photos - and perhaps regretting having invested into family portraits in the first place.

When it comes down to it, we take these images for our family, to document our legacy and to remember that particular phase of our lives. You don't need to mimic an Instagram Influencer or celebrity to be beautiful. Being the mother you are, wearing somewhat matching clothes, hugging your children, visibly loving them with all your heart in the photos ... It really doesn't require more than that. I promise.

2. Take it easy, go with the flow, don't feel the need to discipline too much

I am noooot trying to tell you how to parent. No, no! Don't get me wrong. Surely we all have different styles of how we raise our babies. It comes down to our personality, experiences in our journey and each particular child and their personalities and so much more.

It's NOT easy, I think we can all agree. What I mean is to lean back. Let go of overly high expectations and feel confident that there is time. Your photographer is not bothered. They better not be if they're in the business of working with children.

Honestly, our children don't care about the money we invested, the time limit, and won't understand why they're getting to visit a super fun looking meadow or park, but are expected to stand still and say cheese. You can try and explain it, but it doesn't compute. So why expect them to act like little adults or versions of ourselves, when we could much easier try to reach them by being more like them? Ever tried that? It'll blow your mind what you're able to ask of them if you are becoming their friend during the session. Their partner in crime. Your kids want to jump into the lake? Take your shoes off with them and walk along the shore! Throw them up high, sprinkle water on them - Have fun!

Try to not tell your kids off too much, it'll put a negative swing on things and it will show up in the photos. Instead, try to redirect their attention to something else. Don't want them to run away? Have a snack in your bag, that you know they like. Figure out something to do after the session, a reward and negotiate. Have a young child? Perhaps bring a popular toy, and become more interesting than the tall grass they want to run around in.

There is luckily many roads that lead to Rome, and children respond well to many things. As long as you're at ease that things will work out just fine, and trust your photographer... you will be golden, honest!

3. Take advantage of communication - Talk to your photographer

Sure, you are paying for photos, a service. What many don't think about is that ultimately you are paying for the photographer's time and expertise. Why not tap into that? So many worries can be squashed by just sitting down and writing your photographer an email. They will be excited to be able to answer your questions and therefore make your experience with them that much better - I guarantee it! Do we want our bills paid? Yes. But ultimately we want amazing relationships with our clients, we want them to be happy and at ease. We want you to be glad to have booked with us! Answering your questions, hearing and responding to your concern is another way we can ensure we do a good job, and have you perhaps even recommend us to your friends.

4. Consider letting your children take a nap before the session

Now implementing all of the above is not going to be of any help to you, when your toddler or baby has gone all day without a nap and your ideal session time in summer is 7pm. If you cannot live without the golden hour type of light - you know, the soft and dreamy light your photographer is likely to have all over their instagram opposed to the harsh 2pm summer sun - then perhaaaaps you could even attempt a sunrise session. Your kids are very likely not going to be cranky. However they're not always the most popular on weekends for obvious reasons. If that doesn't bother you, you're probably very likely to find last minute slots with even busy photographers. And most photographers might welcome your choice of morning hours BIG time, because this means they can have another session in the evening, to maximize their profits over the weekend. But if you prefer sunset, definitely consider letting your kids take a nap during the day. Let them refresh themselves, and give them a chance to still be their happy selves by the evening hours. It'll make it so much easier for everyone involved - especially your little ones!

5. Bring a back up outfit

Got children that are in the process of being potty trained? Maybe they got dirty on the way to the session or your little baby spat up all over herself in the car? Plan ahead and bring a back up! Some mishaps can be edited, but if we have some soaked pants, things become tricky. Some photographers are crafty with photoshop, but even then... Post processing becomes much more time consuming and could end up costing you extra. Avoiding full body shots could also be a way to go forward, but things don't have to be so complicated. Bring your diaper bag, a change of clothes if you think you could benefit and voilà! Crisis averted :)

Well, and that is it! I hope these 5 tips are helpful and can come in handy for your next session and take some of the worry and nervousness out of the equation. :-)

If you enjoyed this and like the tips or know someone who has a session coming up and could use some tips ... please share :) See you in the next post! xx Serena