|Richards Family 2012|
My husband and I have four amazing kids and all under the age of 12. We really feel like we hit the lotto with this bunch. I mean they have their low moments, but for the most part they listen, smell good, and haven't burned the house down. Really, the opposite of how my brothers and sisters grew up.
However when its family photo time it's like my kids transformed in to Gremlins and they just had a midnight snack. Every year I plan for months for the right outfits and go on location expeditions only to have my kids ruin the photo shoot with tantrums or running off to chase a butterfly.
Over the years I have learned a few tricks to help family photos go smoother and keep all the kids alive.
• Have treats on hand. Usually they say not to feed the wild animals but you may have to on this one. I keep some gummies or small animal crackers on hand to throw at the kids if they start to loose focus. I bring treats that are quickly chewed and swallowed and that won't spoil their clothes if they spit it out or drool on themselves.
• Find a the right photographer. Or a wizard, both seem equally impossible to find. I start with Facebook months ahead, or sometimes a year in advance. I look for a photographer who does a lot of family photos. A photographer may be so talented and able to capture the magic of the setting sun but if they don't know how to snap a two year old tantrum, pass.
I have found that there are two main camps that photographers fall into. The Posers and The Candid. Posers, will take a lot of time to make sure that everyones hands are in the right place before taking the photo. They may stop several times and run up to the family to move a strain of hair. Posers produce some amazing photos, but they can take a toll on squirmy kids.
The Candid photo guys, can still start with a pose but they will then let the photos take themselves. Your photos will not have the perfect edges but they will be more organic. Just another aspect to keep an eye out for.
• The clothes. I love colors, and spend weeks planning and then longer finding the perfect color combination. I usually start with my husbands outfit and then plan everyone else to compliment or balance. Personal preference: I am not a fan of the white shirt and jeans, or any exactly the same color. Choose a color scheme and then select outfits for everyone that has an accent. This will produce a wonderful balance and flow to the photo.
Also find clothes that are not too new and unusual. You'll want your kids (and husband) not pulling at collars or playing with a new button.
• The best tip is to breath and relax. My husband made a game changing comment one year when I was trying to Photoshop a scab off my sons face. He said that life is messy and kids are crazy, they are not a perfect photo and neither is life. A family photo should be a retentive of who and what we are as a family at the moment in time (sometimes he says really cool things)
From that moment I have taken it easy and not tried so hard to keep the boys hair in place or the girls necklaces strait but enjoyed the day and appreciated who my kids are, in the moment. But heck if I don't look amazing!
All the best with your family photos this year. I can hardly wait to see the finished products in your Holiday Cards.