Ralph Waldo Emerson said “A child is a curly, dimpled lunatic.” Every year when family pictures roll around, I completely agree. I’ll spot a picture online of a perfectly posed, clothed, happy family in a pristine setting with divine lighting, and think, “It’s us!” Picture day comes and goes and I get home looking like the victim of a very bad makeover and a depressing family reunion.
Oftentimes, family pictures with small children can feel like bathing, clothing, entertaining and herding cats. Here are my top five tips to getting the best family pictures with small children:
- Know your photographer. When we first started looking for a photographer, plenty said “I don’t do kids.” That’s fine, but make sure your photographer actually enjoys photographing kids, even crazy ones! If your photographer is stressed out, you will be, too.
- Dress the real you. If the kids feel like they are performing to appease mom and dad, say goodbye to happy smiles. If you insist on your two year old wearing a bow-tie, be prepared for annoying attempts to keep it on. Mommy, if you don’t normally wear high heals and a skirt don’t do it for your family pictures! All I have to do is imagine that skirt around my ankles when the camera flashes to remind myself that my children like to pull on my clothes. And Daddy, if you wear a suit all day and see family pictures as your chance to bum it, remember your mother-in-law will see these pictures. Dress comfortably, be yourself, but be the best you.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. You’re an average family, not a glamorous Hollywood couple. Accept the fact that life as a parent is chaotic and family pictures will be no different. Once you’ve accepted your crazy awesome lot in life you can settle into the fun parts.
- Allow potty words, just this once. I can get my boys to smile the biggest, best smiles when I whisper a “secret” in their ear. Some of our best pictures together are because I considered what would make my boys giggle in the right moment.
- Finally, FOOD! Our family is the happiest when we are eating our favorite food. Eat out at your favorite restaurant either before or after pictures, and don’t forget the kids favorite snacks during the shoot.
Follow these simple tips for family pictures that capture all your children’s dimples and none of their lunacy.