What should you bring to your family portrait session? To some degree, this definitely depends on your particular family’s needs (and the ages of your kids), but since I shared what was in MY bag, I thought you might also like some tips for what you might want to include in yours.
- Water and non-messy snacks. For kids of ALL ages. Yes, even teens 😉 Being in front of the camera is harder work than we often give credit for and every one of my sessions builds in some break times to recharge a little bit. For younger kids, it can be helpful to have a tasty special treat that you can leave in the car if you want to give a little bribe for good behavior, but bringing it to the shoot can sadly end in tears when it’s so close and not available. Water is especially helpful in the summer months, but good to bring year-round. Family photos can be thirsty work!
- A special item. For younger kids, this can be their current favorite small toy, for teens, something special to them that they may want to incorporate into your session. For little ones, a favorite lovey or book can really help them feel comfortable in front of the camera (I once had a child come to a session with one lego. One. It was his favorite and he was holding it in every photo — sometimes hidden, sometimes showcased, but it helped him feel like I was taking his needs and comfort into account, and it also said something about his lego obsession that his parents wanted to remember from this stage of his life.
- Shoes you can walk and play in. All my family sessions are pretty active — we play games, run around, and explore the space. If you really want high heels that’s fine, but consider bringing shoes you can change into easily to walk between spots as well — the last thing I want for any of my clients is blisters or a twisted ankle!
- A blanket for sitting on. I always have a couple of blankets we can use, but if there’s a special blanket in your life, it’ll make your session so much more special if you bring it so we can have you sit on something that’s particular to your family.
- Your enthusiasm and sense of willing. Ok, this doesn’t LITERALLY need to go in your bag, but I invite you to come to your session with an excitement for what we’re going to capture — the love in your family and the stage you are all at right now. I know photos aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I promise to make it as painless as possible and hopefully fun even for the reluctant. I know sometimes one spouse is more excited than the other, but if everyone comes with a good attitude, we can have a great time AND create portraits your family will treasure for generations.
Lastly, I’m going to ask you to not bring one thing — electronics. They distract kids and make it hard to get those loving, engaged, connected photos you’ve come to me for.