Family Portrait Wrangling comes in handy with kids in the portrait session.
Family portrait wrangling is the photographers responsibility at a session with kids involved. (Occasionally I have had to do it with adults but thankfully, not too often.) I understand how hard it is for parents to get everyone together because I have I have a family, too. However, the rewards are great and I encourage you to take the plunge if you have not already done so.
Here is a common scenario at home while getting ready for a portrait session:
- Everyone is grouchy
- The boys don’t like getting dressed up.
- The girls can’t decide what to wear or if their hair should be up or down.
- Dad could care less and hopes it won’t take too long.
- Mom is feeling the pressure.
- Sound familiar? This story before a session has been retold multiple by my clients over the years.
First, let me share some photos of a family of 5 who came to me this past October for Fall Family Portraits. Below is the last photo we created at our session. Everyone was relaxed and comfortable. (I think I was making some strange sounds and funny faces to get their baby to look at me, too!) It did not start this way. In fact, this family never saw the first few photos I took. They had nervous smiles and felt awkward. This is normal! This image below shows you where we ended up – everyone relaxed and looking at the camera.
With enough time set aside, I have a chance to help my clients feel relaxed and make it a fun experience. This session took about an hour and 15 minutes and we went to two places quite close to each other near my studio. Small kids are more cooperative and relaxed with time and patience. When they feel comfortable enough to roll in the grass and be themselves, you know you are on the right track! Capturing the natural character of the kids are what parents love. When they are not constantly being asked to be attentive to me and the camera it is easier on them all.
Tips on wrangling.
Family Portrait mini-sessions don’t always work as well when young kids are in the mix and here is why:
- They need to time to scope out the photographer and get a feel for the situation. They have no idea what is going to happen so they may be a little apprehensive. The kids just want to play. MEET the kids before the session if possible, it helps. I did meet mom and the baby before this session and she shared photos of the whole family on Facebook which really helped.
- The photographer needs to create opportunities to capture them naturally and being themselves. This may take a few minutes depending on the individuals. Patience, getting down at their level, learning their names, being silly like pretending to forget their names and mix them up for example. Having fun is key and find way to help them feel comfortable. Remember that a photo session is hard for adults, too, so imagine how the kids feel! I usually ignore the kids and talk to the parents upon greeting everyone. This way the kids have a few minutes to check me out. Then I will engage the kids, get a little silly, encourage them to look at stuff and explore the area a little. Once they see how easy it is (and quick), they start having fun.
- The photographer has to teach them all, the kids and parents, how to stand, how to be close together while looking good. When everyone gets the hang of it they start feeling comfortable. It is truly amazing to me how everyone, even the kids, just start hitting poses after awhile. The kids will become more comfortable and then start ignoring me. Then I can get those unexpected photos capturing them unaware of me and the camera.
Great day, great family!
Interested in scheduling a Family Portrait Session? Call me anytime. But if you want a schedule a Fall Family Portrait, understand that dates in October are highly popular. Please call ahead in the summer to make sure you can book a convenient date for your family.
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