It’s the fall/holiday season, the weather is starting to turn and the winds are breezing through (in most parts of the states not mine as much) which means for most families it’s annual family portrait time! It’s also my favorite and busiest time of year!
For some people though, it’s the most stressful time of year or the most hectic time and I totally understand that. Dad’s… I feel you! I get you and I want to let you know, I’m with you too! It’s crunch time at work. The end of the year is coming right around the corner and you are hustling and bustling to tie everything up in a neat little bow. The holidays are rolling in fast, much faster than you anticipated and that means it’s over time and overload and overwhelm! There are so many things on your plate right now and the absolute last thing that you want to think about is the dreaded family portrait. Trust me, I get it!
But as a photographer for over 8 years specializing in children and families I want you to know and I need you to know some things, so I’m writing this just for you because guess what: I’ve got your back!
- You NEED to be in these family portraits! As much as we tell mothers it’s important to get in the picture, it is JUST as important for father’s to be in the family portrait as well. These images are telling the story of YOUR LIFE and your children’s lives. They are the tangible piece of your life puzzle and they will show your children, your grandchildren and your great grand children who you are, how you live and how you loved! You don’t want to miss out on that! You want to show up and show up BIG. You want to be present and involved in such a way that it represents all that you are so that one day in the future you will be sitting in that rocking chair with a little one on your lap and able tell a story about the man in that photograph! You want to be able to look back at that man and marvel at how he looked, how he smiled and the few wrinkles he had back then. You want to be able to see yourself!
- You set the tone for the entire session, so please be kind! Believe it or not, your attitude and feelings about our time together and this session trickles down to everyone (your wife, your kids and even me) so please, please, please… be kind! So here’s the real deal ya’ll… I know this isn’t on the list of your top 500 favorite things to do! I get it, in fact being in front of the camera isn’t on mine either which is why I’m behind it, BUT if you are laid back and relaxed then your family will be laid back and relaxed! If you show a little love and act silly and maybe for this one time one hour and half session even forget the rules or bend them a bit with the little ones… then guess what?! The whole entire family (mom included) will also show a TON of love, act ridiculously silly and even demonstrate listening skills!!! But, Dad… if you are uptight or annoyed or even the slightest bit on edge… then everyone (including me) will feel like we need to walk on egg shells. I will try to ease the tension. I will make silly jokes and I will try to get everyone playing and having a great time, but I can only do so much. So please, if you only follow one of these tips, let it be this one! Dad: you are the barometer of your family! You are the one everyone will be looking to both during the session and after the session to remember how the day went. If you can let go and have fun and enjoy yourself, I promise to make this session as painless as possible. In fact, I promise you that I can even make it FUN if you let me. Remember: I got your back Dad!
- Don’t worry about the kids! This one also goes for mom too but please don’t worry about the kids! Let them be who they are and remember they are probably just as nervous or ready for this to be “over” as you are! The truth is, no one really knows what to expect when they hear the words family photo shoot. Whether it’s a different photographer from last time or a brand new location, something is always “new” and that can be exciting or nerve wracking for little ones. It’s absolutely OK for them to be wild, at least it is for me! I expect that and I also welcome that! My goal for you as a parent on this photo session is for you to just play with your little ones and not worry about having to discipline them! This is the quickest way a photo session can turn from beautiful and fun to finished and heading home! Let me worry about setting the boundaries and let me worry about capturing the right moments! I promise you I will capture everything we need in the right time frame and I will keep everyone safe and sound! I want you and mom to have a fun time with your children and I want this to be a time where you can connect with them in a playful way!
- Your wife needs to feel loved! Before there were little ones, there was only the two of you and you were so incredibly in love! We need to remember that and we need to capture that every portrait session! You see right now your lives are filled with so much joy and chaos with these little ones running around. I know I just have one and he has us running ragged and all over the place. We barely have time as a couple and being a couple is important. It’s important because once the kids are grown up, all we have left is each other. It’s also important because we want to show our kids that marriage is important and love is important. So let’s take just a few seconds during this time together and capture just the two of you! Dad, I need your help and encouragement to get this done! Grab your wife and make her feel loved! Hold her close, give her a kiss or give her a nuzzle! Don’t know how to nuzzle, ask me and I’ll show you how! Let’s take just a few seconds to get one or two pictures of just the two of you on your own without the kids. Please don’t feel silly, she’ll thank you for it, trust me. Your wife has put so much thought and time into this session. Let’s take a few minutes to get this shot!
- Take a minute to step back and reflect: Dear tough dad, when we are almost finished I want you to take a moment and step back. I want you to watch your family for a second and really look at them. Take a look at what you have created for yourself and appreciate it for all that it is worth! You work so damn hard for them, I know this, but often it’s when you are working that you might forget WHY you are working and what you are working for. I know you appreciate them. I know you appreciate them so much but it isn’t until moments like this when we get these rare opportunities to see our family the way other’s are seeing them that we are reminded of ALL the love we have and how uniquely ours it is. We remember in these moments how beautifully and amazingly lucky we are to call them our own. And guess what Dad: YOU MADE THEM! You and your incredible wife created this family out of nothing but love! How fantastic is that! So just take a moment and breathe that in. Let it really sink in and fill your heart. I want you to know that THIS is why I do what I do. This is why I have your back Dad. That in a few weeks time you will be able to see all that love reflected back at you and you get to have those moments FOREVER! You get to keep them and print them and hold on to them for as long as you are living! It might be an hour and half that we spend together, but it’s a lifetime of moments that you will have as long as you want them!~
So Dad… next time we meet on a session I hope you remember these 5 things! I hope you take them to heart because they will really make a difference for everyone! You got this and always remember, we got you!
You can do this!