After a few years of shooting Lifestyle Family I have developed a handful of no-fail tricks! These can work on an outgoing family or even a family that is a bit camera shy or stuck on the “smile at the camera” poses.
1. “ Connect with your loved one sitting/standing next to you, not the camera.”
When shooting a new client I always express my love for capturing natural interaction before we start shooting. I ask the parents to not look at me unless I specifically direct them to. I tell them to focus on their children and their spouse. This always takes some pressure off of Dad and relaxes the overall tone of the shoot. I don’t stress this rule with the kids unless they start to look at me and say cheese, if this happens I will give them a simple task to distract them. “Hey bud, can you look at your Mom and tell her your favorite meal she cooks for you?” or “Sister! Can you give your Daddy a quick kiss?”
2. Details. Details. Details.
I could shoot a whole session on details alone. And these don’t have to be natural details to hold sentimental value, they can be directed. For instance, you can ask a child to put his hand on his Mother’s face, ask Mom to readjust her little ones hair, place Mom’s necklace in the baby’s hand. The list goes on and on. Every detail shot below was directed in a natural way.
3. Have a default game plan to lighten the mood when needed.
Anybody who shoots families knows that it’s not always rainbows and sunshine throughout the entire session. When working with babies, toddlers and children, their mood can change quickly and I have a few default tips to share!
The blanket trick. Definitely not an original idea of mine, but it has never failed me. Ask the parents to raise the blanket and have the kids run together underneath and BAM! The smiles are back.
When a little one gets upset simply ask Mom to comfort them and face you. I’ve shot so many favorite images during moments like this. And once the little one is feeling better…Dip!
Hope these tips & tricks help you during your next family outing.