Preparing for a Family Holiday Photoshoot

By: Guest Blogger Carrie Zimmer of The Zimmers for Flourishing Marriages
It’s that time of year! You know, gathering the troops, spending hours pouring over what the perfect outfits will consist of and bribing convincing the children to stand still and smile for just one picture. I mean if the kids at my shoots received all the things their parents told them they would get if they would just stand still and smile for one picture, my kid clients would be hyped up all the sugar in the world riding roller coasters at Disney land for the next year! 
So what can we as parents do to make this experience as stress free and enjoyable as possible? Here are our tips. 
1. Relax! 90% of my clients say at some point during the shoot some variation of the following: “I’m so sorry! My kids are crazy! They don’t usually act like this.” So tip #1: relax. Kids are just that; kids! Let them be. When Mom is stressed that the kids aren’t sitting perfect, smiling perfect, and looking perfect, the overall shoot feels much more tense! Take a seat, enjoy the process, I guarantee I will surprise you with some great shots of your family! 
2. Pick up the kids. Ok so this is addressing the other 10% of my clients. One out of ten shoots or so I have experiences where Mom and Dad want a lot of “candids”. And I get that! And I love that! But…..I am not superwomen. When you have two kids running two different directions all while eating cheetos, I will not be delivering family photos that look much different than that; two kids running different directions eating cheetos. So while I encourage you to let your kids be kids, don’t forget that you are investing in this shoot, so your kids cannot just run freely the whole time. We will make time for that, but leave it for the end. 
3. Bring incentives: This is super helpful for little people! That way we can throw the little loves an M&M instead of having to promise a trip to Disney this summer. Incentive ideas: fruit snacks, gold fish, grapes, M&M’s. Avoid: cheetos, lollipops, and stickers. Unless you want orange fingers, sticks coming out of the mouth and every size flower plastered to the 
sweet little outfit you picked out for them! 
4. Prep the family: Give your family a rundown of what the plan is. I usually like to prep my clients before the shoot telling them the game plan. I start with the hardest and work my way to the easiest. I always start with the whole family, then I move to just kids, then Mom+kids, then Dad+kids, then Mom and Dad and then candid, running shots. 
5. Set the example and have fun!: Family pictures are something your family will thank you for in the future. But you might forget that mid shoot as the little loves are picking up rocks to throw at each other, wiggling more than you thought physically possible, or just flat out pouting up the poutiest storm. But don’t give up! Some of my favorite family shots I caught during the last 20 minutes after we shook our sillies out and got in a rhythm. When Mom and Dad have fun with it, most often the kids follow suit.
So there it is! We hope these tips will make your experience in front of the camera more enjoyable as you capture precious and fleeting moments of your lovely family! 
We love Carrie and Peter’s heart and style and the beautiful moments they capture in their photography. More than just a photography business, this husband and wife team have also created integrated marriage support and wisdom in their work. You have to check them out- you won’t be disappointed! It doesn’t hurt that they are adorable- on the inside and out.
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