Want a smooth Family Photoshoot? Focus on Playing!

The best advice I can give to families with small kiddos coming to a session: Focus on Playing. When the focus is on play and having fun, that’s when the magic is made. Kids LOVE nothing more than to play and I love to capture the genuine smiles, laughter and moments of them just being THEM. Even the most camera-shy kiddo forgets about the lens and loosens up. If the focus is on getting the perfectly posed shots, it will create a stressful and unpleasant vibe – and that’s when kiddos start to cry and clam up. 

What does "Focus on playing" actually look like during a session?

1. Giving them prompts.  Examples: “run around mommy & daddy!” or “go and start a tickle fight!” 
2. Bring their favorite toy to play with. Examples: their favorite stuffed animal to snuggle with. A shovel to play with in the sand.
3. Go on little quests. Whatever types of natural elements are in the environment you’re shooting in can create a fun little quest for them to find. Examples: have them go pick flowers in the field or find seashells on the beach.
4. Easy & quick games to play. Examples: “Twirl in a circle as many times as you can and then fall down!” or “Let’s race from this rock to that tree!”. 

So, do mom & dad need to "Focus on playing" too?

No, not necessarily! Remember, family photoshoots are about capturing your connection as a family. Sometimes that connection IS dad getting on the floor playing with the kids. Sometimes it’s mom helping them out with a task. Others, it’s sitting back & watching them play. During the shoot, while the kids are playing, you can lean in for little kisses on their foreheads or help them with their “quests” to find the shell, twirl around with them, or chase them and pick them up and throw them into the air – and that’s what will create the natural connection as a family and bring out the intimacy you’re looking for. I love love love when there’s lots of kissing & touching & snuggling between the parents & kiddos. 

(And don’t worry – I aim to get 1-2 “Christmas Card” perfectly posed photos and then the rest is just candids and you guys interacting. The more you can lean into just being in the moment with your family and doing the things you normally do with them, that’s when the real magic happens.)

The Vincent Family - Photoshoot at the Beach

Ohhh this session. How it has my heart. I implemented all of the advice that I just stated above into this session and it was absolute magic. The little girl was as shy as could be in front of the camera, but you’d never know that because we Focused on Playing! These images truly captured the essence of the Vincent Family, who spend nearly everyday at the beach surfing, playing in the waves, or building sand castles. They did their thing and I captured it all. We were there only probably 30 minutes but that was all we needed to make the magic happen!

the black and white photos below are the type of photos she'll love to look back on when she's older. Not quite in focus but that doesn't matter - her shy little grin with the wild hair and chubby fingers are too cute for words.

Your kids aren’t little for long. I love documenting the type of photos where you can remember how their little hand used to scoop up the sand. How it felt holding her on your shoulders as you ran around and she held you tighter. What their little squeezes felt like when we told them to give you a bear hug. Those will be the moments you long for – let’s capture them together during a family session. Everyone has their own story.
And I love documenting people’s stories.