I recently got a question about how to make my models and clients feel comfortable in front of the camera (and I can’t stop thinking about how passionate I am about this).
When I first started photography, I was so worried about props and posing and locations to make my photos beautiful. I would transition from spot to spot so v quickly— but as I’ve grown, I’ve learned that posing and props are only accessories to a good photo.
Slowing down to allow people to breathe + feel is what helps them open up to me. We’re all just craving connection with someone and something in this fast-paced world. Let your clients connect with you and they’ll feel something when you send their gallery.
1. Wear layers. Spring can be finicky in the sense that you can go from frigid to over heated in a matter of minutes. I suggest wearing layers — tank top, tee shirt, jacket, etc. That way each family member can peel off, or add, a layer as they see fit and remain comfortable throughout the session.
2. Location is a big deal. You better believe we’re going to take advantage of the fresh, warm air and all those bud popping up from the ground and in the trees. I have lots of suggestions, but if there’s somewhere you see that catches your eye, please feel free to ask if it can work!
3. Play into the colors of the season when choosing your family’s outfits. You can never got wrong with neutral and earth toned outfits. My suggestions are always, blues, grays, whites, greens, and soft pinks, then add a small pop of color. I recommend choosing a color theme for the whole gang, then slightly deviating from that with accessories to keep things interesting.
4. Speaking of accessories: wear them! Choose jewelry, scarves, or prints that play into the spring theme. Don’t be afraid to wear that flower crown or piece of statement jewelry.
5. Time it right. Book a session too early in the year and you may miss out on those spring buds. Book too late and you’ve already wandered into summer territory. In Utah, we have a very short window of green grass, wildflowers, and blooming trees. You can always contact me and we can figure out when the best time of year for a specific location will be.
6. Incorporate props, but always keep it simple. You don’t want the prop to over power you or your family. Spring offers some beautiful backdrops where props blend in perfectly. For example, old wooden chairs look stunning in a sea of blooming tiny flowers, and a quilted blanket is lovely on the fresh, green grass.
7. Really think about your footwear. Spring can often mean a soggy ground, so flip-flops or heels are not the best choice. Instead, wear something that’s comfortable and spring appropriate, like loafers, flats, wedges or boots.
Katie is one of my close friends who also happens to be a photographer. When my family moved into our first house, the Warners lived around the corner and took us in right away. We had the best neighborhood who were just so friendly and welcoming! I’m still so sad they moved away from us!
Katie chose Trapper Park for their family session and I always LOVE the light here. It’s so dynamic and bright, but I love it! We can get so much yummy warmth in the photos when the area is open and bright! So grateful when other photographers trust me to capture their families. It feels just a little bit more special.
Tips for preparing your husband for your family session:
If this is your first session together with the family now that the kids are mobile, let him know how you think the session will go and discuss your expectations. Also, if you have to bribe the kids, communicate this with him so he can help remind them of the bribery. I only shoot sessions around sunset, so most of my families opt to go to dinner after their session. This is a good incentive for everyone to cooperate!
Warn him that the kids will probably be crazy, but let him know that it will still be fine and to try not to get overwhelmed or worried. I am the pro at taking charge and directing the session, so let the chaos coordination fall on me. You guys don’t need to stress about telling your kids to look and smile… that’s why you hire me!
Ask him to help get himself and the kids ready. The less stressed mom is, the less chance of an argument between you arising. If you were having an argument earlier, it can make it harder to loosen up and get past it once we begin our session.
Remind him that the session is only one hour, and then it will all be over. This way, he sees a light at the end of the tunnel and can stick it out.
And most importantly – remind him that you love him (and that he loves you, and that’s why he’s cooperating with this). Tell him how much these photos mean to you, and him cooperating will make this experience more memorable.