On my intake questionnaire, I always ask what holds you back from getting family photos more often. Some say finances, some say children, and some say uncooperative spouses.
Guys, I get it. I can think of a million things Zach would rather be doing that getting family photos taken.
It can be a tad stressful getting everyone ready for photos (and keeping everyone clean) and my husband gets a bit anxious dealing with the stress (especially when the kids throw a tantrum or two about what shoes they need to wear) and he has to wear uncomfortable clothing of my choosing and (because I'm a light seeker), it's generally way after the kid's bedtimes.
But, through the years of my sojourn as a professional family photographer in Victoria BC, I have trained him very well. And today, I'm going to share my top 5 tips for getting your spouse on board with the idea of family photos.
1. Schedule the Session at the right time
There is nothing more stressful than Zach coming home from work (late) and the children, the house and I are a mess of chaos trying to get to our photo session on time. In these situation, my husband will feed off the feelings in our home and the session never goes well. If I make sure to give us ample time to get ready and get to the session things always go better.
2. Set Expectations Early
Along the same lines as making sure you give your spouse enough time to get in a good head space and to not rush in chaos to your session, I always make sure to discuss the booking, the fees, and the time table with my spouse early. Springing a photo session (and the expense of a session) on my husband at the last minute has never ever ever led to a happy, carefree session with a happy cooperative spouse.
3. Let him Pick his Outfit
Okay ladies, I know it's hard, but we can do this! Luckily for me, my husband would prefer I dress him every day to make things simpler and easier for him (hello zero fashion sense) but not all men feel this way. If clothing choices are proving contentious, you could just let him find something appropriate for the location that he is comfortable in. The real smiles will be worth it, I promise.
4. No Stiff Posing Please
Family photo sessions (at least those with me at Fawn Lily Photography) don't have to be bland or boring. You do not need to sit still looking at me, smiling a stiff smile (actually, please don't!). Most of my sessions are moving. I photograph a hybrid posed and lifestyle model of photos. What does that mean? Well it means that you will get that one perfect portrait of your family looking at me, yes, but you will also get so much more. You will get images that show connection, love, genuine smiles, and real interactions. Often, I find dads can be a bit uncomfortable in front of the camera (I am too!) so I generally get them interacting with their kiddos, and doing things that are natural and comfortable for them. This can help them to feel more relaxed so when it's time for that "look at the camera and smile" moment, we are left with a gorgeous portrait.
Please show your spouse a gallery of family portraits prior to your session. Point out how relaxed and casual the posing is. If you can show him in a way that makes him feel like he can do it too, you will have won him over already.
5. Let's Play
Taking things a step further, I love love love to photograph families doing something that they love to do. Are you kite flyers, football tossers, snugglers, readers, or kid wranglers? Get dad on board by mentioning that you've brought along a favourite family activity or let me invite him to participate in some good old fashioned airplane-ing baby fun. Doing something that you all love to do together is a great way to get your spouse on board with family photos without being stiff and uncomfortable. Better still, make dad in charge of keeping things light, and fun, and cheery. I know if I give my husband a job (to make fart noises and keep us all laughing) he is much more engaged than if he is just a recipient to my nit-picking and posing the whole time.
Are you all convinced?
Fawn Lily Photography is a Victoria BC based Newborn, Family and Wedding Photographer. Fawn Lily Photography offers outdoor photography sessions throughout Greater Victoria with a studio located in Sidney BC.
If you need to convince your wife about the importance of family photos and how she can look and feel good in photos, here's some tips for you: