{Creating Authentic Family Images} | Maine Family Photographer

One of the biggest compliments receive from family sessions is “you really captured who we are as a family.” That’s why I do what I do and there’s nothing better than getting it right. Creating authentic photos isn’t just thanks to me, however. It is essential that my families and I work together as a team to have a fun session and create an environment that allows for authentic images. Here are some ways you can help me achieve just that.

1. Dress comfortably. Dress like you.

I can’t stress this point enough. It doesn’t matter if you dress up or dress down, if you are wearing something that makes you uncomfortable, it will show in your photos. If the neckline on your shirt makes you self conscious, don’t wear it. If you really want your daughter to wear that cute skirt but you know getting her into it is going to be a battle, don’t do it. The most authentic family photos happen when everyone is comfortable in their outfits. And sometimes that means making some sacrifices, especially with the little ones. There are many ways to coordinate outfits while staying true to everyone’s style and personalities. And there will be nothing like looking at your photos ten years from now and giggling at the fact that your three-year-old wore her favorite rain boots on the beach in August, or that dress that she lived in all summer long, and remembering the huge smile on her face when the photographer asked her to show them off.


2. Choose a location that incorporates the things you love.

If the feeling of the sand between your toes gives you the heebie-jeebies, the beach is not the best place for your family photos. If your family loves to go hiking, let’s find some trails and create images in a space that is comfortable to you and makes your hearts happy! Think about the places that are favorites for your family. Maybe it is the beach, or your house, your backyard, or some random field down the street where you all love to run around. You want to look back on your images and think about how much fun you had, not how uncomfortable it was to be in the middle of the city when your favorite place is at the beach or in a quiet park, or vice versa. Our favorite places to be speak a lot about who we are, individually, and as a family, and the location you choose is an important part of a successful, authentic family session.


3. Let the kids be kids. And trust me.

Ok, I know that’s a twofer, but read along, and you’ll see they go hand in hand. Having been on the other side of the lens several times as a parent, I know this can be the hardest one of all. Naturally, your kids may act a bit more silly with a new person (me!) in the mix. Or maybe it will swing the other way and they’ll clam up and take a good chunk of the session to come out of their shell. Expect that they most likely will act differently than they would if I were not there with you. One of the biggest stressors for family sessions, for both the family, and myself, is when parents harp on the kids too much. It’s very difficult to get real smiles when mom is behind me saying “Come on! This is so important to me! That smile is ridiculous. Just be normal! Stop being so shy!” As parents we know how awesome our kids are. And we know their nice faces and their silly faces and their thinking faces. Trust me when I say, it is 100,000% more difficult for me to get those faces when mom and dad are behind me demanding them from the kids. It just doesn’t work.

So, how can we make this happen, together, as a team? Listen to me, and trust me. I may ask you to stand behind me and make silly faces, shake your bum, or do a goofy dance. Or, I may ask you to walk away for a minute so I can hang out with your kiddo one-on-one. I’ll ask about school. I’ll ask what their favorite song is. I’ll probably ask them to make some silly faces. And in between their words or ridiculous faces, those nice/serious/silly/cute faces you know so very well will come out. Trust me.


4. Plan an activity.

Is there something you love to do as a family? Maybe it’s reading a book, or singing songs, or searching for sea glass. Maybe it’s tickle fights, or picnics, or coloring. Whatever it is, incorporate it into your session. It may seem silly to think about belting out Taylor Swift songs while banging on tambourines in the middle of a field, but if that’s something you often do at home, the way this activity brings your family together will be reflected in your images, both during the activity, and afterwards.


5. Relax.

Another tough one. There can be a lot of pressure around family photos these days. Perfect outfits. Perfect behavior. Perfect weather. Guess what? There’s no such thing as perfect. Clothes will get dirty. Kids will cry. It might be cloudy. These things ARE real life. Embrace the chaos, laugh it off, and just let your family be who you are. Be silly together. Play together. Kick your shoes off and run together on the beach. We are are creating these images  to capture who you are as a family, right now, at this time in your life, no matter what normal/silly/awkward/cute phase you and your kids are going through. Be who you are, so you can remember who you were when you are looking back on these years down the road.


Capturing families together is one of my most favorite things to do. There is absolutely nothing that compares to the love you have for your kiddos, your spouse, and your extended family. Let’s work together to create images that really reflect who you are, and make you smile, laugh, and do a happy sigh, all at once. 🙂

Now booking through August. Contact me to schedule your session!


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