Five Ways to Personalize Your Family Photo Session

February 06, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

One evening my family and I went to dinner at a local restaurant. There was a wait, so we put our name in and sat on a bench outside the front doors. While sitting there, we watched a father and his two children walk out of the restaurant. He grabbed both their hands and they proceeded to skip through the parking lot to their car singing “We’re the three best friends that anyone could have…”. Yes, as in from the movie The Hangover. My husband and I looked at each other and thought that was probably the coolest thing we had ever seen. So what does this have to do with family photos? Families, as a unit, have a personality all their own.  This dynamic is one of my favorite things to see and my ultimate goal to capture as a photographer.  So here are some ways you can customize your photo session to show your family’s personality.

  1. Bring your pet. As a dog owner and lover, I know pets are very much a part of your family. Include them in a shot if you can.
    Customize Family Photos with a petCustomize Family Photos with a pet
    Fall Family photo with pet in Williamsburg ParkFall Family photo with pet in Williamsburg Park
  2. Wear something special.  Adorn that beautiful piece of jewelry someone special gave you. Use that gorgeous quilt grandma made you to snuggle up in or sit on.

    In this photo, my clients wanted a picture of their children in the traditional dress of Galicia, Spain (traje tradicional gallego), which is part of their heritage.
    Siblings in traje tradicional gallego Siblings in traje tradicional gallego
    OK, so obviously this is an outtake from the session and rest assured we did not let him sit there and cry. Mom was right there and has a great sense of humor about this photo. She even came close to using it for their Christmas card that year if not for the fear of her mother being angry….ah family dynamics.
     
  3. Show a hobby. If your child plays an instrument, bring it.  Does your child have a doll or lovey that never leaves his or her side? I will admit that it is not my personal photographic style to use props just for the sake of using props, but if it is showcasing a personality, special talent, or love of something important to you and you want to preserve that memory, I am all for it. 
    Tweens playing musical instruments outdoors and in studioTweens playing musical instruments outdoors and in studio Boy playing cello in Virginia fieldBoy playing cello in Virginia field
    Little girl with American Girl Doll in parkLittle girl with American Girl Doll in park
  4. Shoot at a special location.  If there is a place near and dear to your family (that your photographer has permission to shoot at of course), that might be the perfect location to have your photo session.

    This dad frequently goes to this little spot on a Lake near his home with his kids to fish.
    Father and Son fishing on Burke Lake VAFather and Son fishing on Burke Lake VA
    This place is important to their family and the activity is meaningful. This brings me to my final, but maybe the most important point…
     
  5. Just be yourselves. This goes for everything from what you wear to how you “pose”.  If you all never dress up then be casual! Let the kids run around, explore, and play a while!  
    Little boy picking flowers at Lake Erie State ParkLittle boy picking flowers at Lake Erie State Park
    Children sitting on a fence in Colonial WilliamsburgChildren sitting on a fence in Colonial Williamsburg
    If you are a silly family, you might not fall in love with heavily posed images or serious faces... so mix it up a little!   
  6. Silly Family photosSilly Family photos
    Family being silly at VA Grist MillFamily being silly at VA Grist Mill
    Do what you like to do together. Wrestle, have a picnic, play a game, read to the kids, walk on the beach.
    Little boy blowing bubbles in VA parkLittle boy blowing bubbles in VA park

    Virginia fall family photo swinging children Virginia fall family photo swinging children
    Adding a personal touch here or there doesn’t have to be huge ordeal or the complete focus of the session, but if those are the things your family enjoys and does often, those are images you will smile at every time you look at them.

Talk to your photographer for suggestions on easy and fun ways to incorporate your family's personality into your photo session.  And if you really want to document a snapshot of your family’s real daily life, then a lifestyle session might be a good fit for you. To learn more about that type of session click here.  

Do you want photos like these? Contact me to customize your own fun session!


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