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Family Session

PREPARE FOR YOUR

what to expect

Family Sessions are a special kind of session, its one where I really want you as a family to open up and show me what spending an hour with you really looks like! Its not about perfection because that’s all just a hoax, no ones perfect! It is about being together as a family and interacting together just as you would normally! I really want family sessions to feel light, easy and simple. I am focused on capturing the simpler moments and the more candid aspects of your children. This guide is SUPER in depth and I really hope your able to take a few minutes to read through it because over the years of doing Family sessions I’ve really figured out what does and doesn’t work! 

what      to bring 

NOT

FRUSTRATION

1.

I know as a parent myself it may seem stressful and frustrating when you feel like your children aren’t co-operating but I really really want your children to feel comfortable enough around me to open up, show their true emotions and really be involved in the session as possible and the one thing that can shut kids down very quick is parent frustration.

 

Please try your hardest to embrace the kids and their mood that day instead of giving ultimatums such as “if you don’t listen there won’t be any of X when we get home” Once something like that is said the kids immediately close up and act in a way they think you want which is not genuine to their personalities. If the kids want to run around and play tag or chase each other for a bit - that is OKAY with me and I don’t ever want you to think hat your kids acting in a certain way is wasting my time or yours. 

 

I know as parents we don’t want to admit that the kids have some of the control but I really do try to let family sessions play out in the hands of the kids so in order for me to really get to know them and to capture them, we need them to open and willing to explore the fun of this session instead of not wanting to do it because their parents are “making them”. 

2.

PERFECTION

As I mentioned before these sessions are NOT designed to capture perfectly stiff people in posey positions so please don’t come with that intent. We are going to be playing, using games, activities and prompts in order to have you interact with each other instead of just staring at a camera! I won’t be focusing on every shot having perfect hair, non wrinkled clothing etc. Its ALL going to be based of movement, so instead of thinking of perfection as a physical thing, think of it as the perfection of YOUR FAMILY and capturing your family perfectly doesn’t mean all of you sitting and fake smiling at the camera! 

3.

BAD VIBES

I know this also plays into frustration but try and leave any bad vibes at home. If you had a crappy day or you were late coming home from work and you felt rushed, try to leave that at home and come to the session with a positive outlook. If you as the parents are upset or have feelings of negativity towards the session the children will feed off that energy and we won’t have 100% success! 

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what to wear
  • Neutral Tones

  • Earthy Colors

  • Small Pops of Color

  • Accessories

  • Hats (not ball caps)

  • Layers (jackets, cardigans etc)

  • Small, Simple Patterns

DO's

  • Neon/Bright Colors

  • Clothing with Logos

  • Matchey Matchey

  • Running Shoes

  • Ball Caps

  • All Black outfits

  • Restricting Fabrics

DON'Ts

Some really important things to consider when planning your outfits are: 

  • Your Home Decor - consider where in your home you are going to want to display these

  • The Season - Dress for the season and the matching vibe of the weather

  • Location - Take into account the location you are going to be in and dress accordingly 

inspiration

preparing dad

It is no surprise that Dads would be doing many other things other than taking photos and this feeling of not wanting to can turn a session from good to bad. Here are some of my best pieces of advice to help prep dad! 

  1. Tell him that this isn’t going to just be a sit there and smile kind of session, tell him we are going to hanging out - letting the kids run wild and playing games together
     

  2. Show him lots of my photos in advance so he knows what it looks like to have a session with me and the style we are going for. Show him the fun that others family have - don't bombard just sneak them in every now and then
     

  3. Make sure you tell him that a session is usually around an hour long so after 15 minutes he isn’t asking “are we done yet" We wont be shooting for a full hour we will be playing, interacting and hanging out!
     

  4. Tell him that it isn’t about how he looks or being in uncomfortable positions - but instead just interacting with the kids. Tell him to treat the kids no different then when he would be rough housing with them at home!
     

  5. Tell him the session is 30 minutes earlier than it actually is - this will help avoid the frustration of running behind, being late home from work etc! Try not to start arguments or get mad at each other before the session
     

  6. Plan a family date night out of the evening! Take the family out for dinner after the session so you have something to look forward to as an entire evening! Dedicate the night to celebrate your family!
     

  7. Tell him that you want the kids to come out of their shells and if dad stays bottled up and tense that will come out in the kids behaviour! Monkey See Monkey Doo... the more active he is the more active they will be!

location, location, location

In order to properly gauge timing of the session we need to pick a location first! This will also help exponentially with choosing your outfits as well! We are surrounded by gorgeous locations in the lower mainland and I am happy to chat about all of those options or if there are places that you would like to explore we can check those out! 

I have a gallery link set below that will give you many different options on places in the lower mainland area that you can use for your session along with example images of what the location looks like!

CLICK HERE FOR LOCATION IDEAS!!

Timing:

The session will be starting in the later part of the day known as "golden hour" this is typically the last 2 hours before sunset! This is when the lighting is the most gorgeous and most flattering to shoot in! I know it't not something that most people take into account but lighting is a key part of session timing! 

I do understand that these sessions, especially in the summer time can start as late as 7-8pm in order to really get the gorgeous sunsets you see in my images! This can sometimes cause an issue with kids and their sleep schedules. Re-scheduling a family session to earlier in the day to comply with sleep schedules is a HUGE dis-service to your family because you are investing a lot of money in these images so I always encourage working around an extra nap that day or making them nap in the car on the way there in order to have co-operative kids at that time! 

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Jordan Doak is a Wedding & lifestyle photographer based in the Fraser Valley & Maple Ridge, BC