When I tell people that I am a family photographer, many people often comment that it must be so hard to photograph unwilling 2 years olds. While
You know which member of the family is the often the hardest? Dads.
Why dads struggle with sessions
After photographing over 400 families over the past 8 years, I have nailed down a couple of reasons why dads struggle with the session. The first is that before the session has actually occurred, this session has been stressing their wife or partner out. She is frantically running around getting outfits ready (including dads, which may be something he doesn’t *really* want to wear) and as the day approaches, the details become even more important and possibly overwhelming. Mom may be trying to schedule an appointment to get her hair or make up done, get the kids dressed, have them fed and happy and on time to the shoot all in one day. Yeesh! It can be stressful.
My advice here- jump on board the session train and take on tasks related to making the session day go over smoothly. Take on dressing and feeding the kids so mom can get ready with a little more peace, I promise that the level of stress you are feeling, she is likely feeling it 100X more. Often times, the stress level of mom sets the stage for the stress level for the entire family. If you are worried that your partner is going to pick you something to wear that you do not like, be proactive and pick something WITH your partner that works well with other outfits. When your session is booked, I send multiple styling resources. You can also take a peek at those.
During the session
Generally, as soon as the session starts and Dad sees all he has to do is snuggle and play with his family for a little bit, the stress I see in his face as everyone is piling out of the car fades away. Here are some things I want dad to know about how I structure things and why they don’t have to stress.
Kiddo Behavior – there is a high chance at some point one kid is going to have a minor freak out. This may be a generalization, but to me, dads seem extra sensitive to their kid’s
Just like anyone, dad can worry about how he will look in the photos. In fact, I get more worried comments from dad than I do from mom about how the end result is going to look. But I am always, always shooting for the most flattering angles to capture you and everyone else in the family. The photos parents love the most, even if it may take a while to learn to love the photo, are the ones where they are showing true emotion. It is hard to show true emotion when you are really worried about your belly or chin or bald spot. Let those worries go! I am here to make you look good.
Showing Emotion in Public
Continuing on with the above topic, many dads feel weird being extra snuggly with their kids and wives in public. I get it- my husband is that way too. But this is a rare chance to look back and see just the way your kiddo’s nose scrunched up when you tickled him or the look on her face when you threw her up in the air. My advice? Leave your worries at the door and snuggle your family with all your might during our hour together.
Bottom line is that capturing photos with your family is really important. Even if it is not important to YOU, it is likely really important to your partner if she is the one who booked the shoot. It will be SUPER important to your kids as they grow. I love looking back at the photos I have with my parents when I was little. I wish so badly I had even more. So jump in and love that little family of yours. I will be there to make it fun and beautiful.