The Dreaded Family Photo Session: How to Enjoy Your Session

Two boys in a hay field.
Family photography session at Hovander Homestead Park, Ferndale, WA

Can a Family Session be Fun? Or does that break some immutable Law of Family?

The baby had a blow out, ruining his outfit. The toddler is screaming like he’s auditioning for a heavy metal band, and dad doesn’t really want to be there because this family session sure wasn’t his idea.

Is it even possible to have fun at your family photo session? Or do you have to spend all year long, dreading a pain-filled hour you’ll never get back?

Let me tell you a story…

Repeat clients are the best part of being a family photographer.

Meet Achilles

I remember Achilles’ newborn session well. He was wide awake and giving me a run for my money. He wasn’t interested in being swaddled like a baby and sleeping. No way! He wanted to look around and explore the world. But you know what? I have been doing this longer than he’s been alive, and managed to get the shots that capture him.

Achilles one-year-session consisted of me chasing him around the yard, making silly noises, capturing smiles as when could. And this fall?

This fall was brilliant.

Four-year-old Achilles enjoyed hamming it up for his family photo session at Hovander.

As you can see, Achilles just keeps getting cuter and is growing into his BIG personality.

These two brothers had fun during our family session at Hovander park.

This was my first time getting to meet brother Riley…As you can see, Riley was doing his best to get through the session…while Achilles was doing his best to OWN the session.

Brothers throwing leaves in the air at Hovander.

Don’t worry, once we got into our groove the boys had a great time, Riley loosened up and Achilles gave me a few sweet smiles to balance out his spice.

Riley smiles sweetly during his family photo session.
Achillies smiles during his family photo session.

It’s My Job to Make You Look Nice and Your Job to Have Fun

Family photography is all about patience, having fun, and going with the flow. I always try to tell parents not to stress about the session. It’s literally my job to make people look nice.

Every session has at least a few golden moments during the chaos. Sometimes the parents can’t see it, but thats because they are in front of the lens, instead of behind it.

Family photos at Hovander Homestead Park.
Mom and dad kissing as kids hide behind trees.

Feel Free to Come With Your Own Ideas

Humerous photo of dad overwhelmed by kids.

Kiani suggested John do this pose with the boys…and as soon as we were done, Riley wanted to do the same pose with Achilles around his leg. They were cracking me up!

Brothers hugging in hay field.

Let the Kids Have Fun During Your Family Session

Yes, of course you want your kids to be perfectly clean, big smiles, and ready for the front of a Hallmark card. But the best way to achieve that is to let the kids have a little fun along the way.

Family playing in hayfield during family photo session.
Family in hay field.
Couple kissing at Hovander Park.

Being silly loosens everyone up so I can capture those genuine smiles and relationships.

Family photos at Hovander Park.
Couple kissing in hayfield Hovander Park.
Boy in scarf smiling in hayfield.
Black and white image of boy smiling in hayfield at Hovander.
Boy playing in hayfield.

Family Sessions at Hovander Homstead Park

I don’t do photo sessions at Hovander Homestead Park very often. The park is large and beautiful which means photographers flock to it like moths to a light…or kids to a mud puddle. But I am so glad Kiani requested this location, because I am in love with the photos.

Cheeky little boy in peacoat at Hovander Park.

Yes, there were people and cars to avoid in our photos, but the colors and lighting were beautiful.

Warning: Incoming Flashback

Repeat clients are my favorite!

Okay, I had to share another flashback of Achilles and Kiani…

Mom and son's relationship over the years.

As you can see, they have a bond that has lasted over the years.

Mom and son posing head to head at Hovander Park
Father and son in the park.
Mom and son in the park.

Okay, I could sit here and share photos of this lovely family all day long…but I should probably leave a few to be a surprise.

Little boys hugging in field of grass.

Thanks so much John, Kiani, Riley, and Achilles. I hope you had as much fun as I did…and I hope to see you next year too.

You might also enjoy checking out Umi’s session at Hovander Park.

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