Looking back at family photos is the best. But leeeesbehonest, planning a family session can be a little daunting. There is the timing, location, making sure it works with everybody's schedule, wardrobe and then you just hope and pray that everything goes well at the session and that all the kids are in a good mood. Especially if you have 6 kids like this adorable family, who I feel like has mastered the art of the family session preparation.  I've done their photos for three years in a row now and they are an awesome group of people.

Here are my three steps for optimal cooperation of children in family photos: (And note that I'm not a parent but these things work pretty well at the many family shoots I do)! 

First, there is the preparation before the shoot. Having a chat on the way there about expectations and what's about to go down. They're about to start their #modellyfe and knowing what they're getting into is a good call. Making sure nobody is hangry or missing a nap is also very crucial. 

Secondly, there is bribery. Not sure if every other photographer is as on board with this as I am, but nothing makes kids smile more when they are reminded that if they do a good job they get to go out afterwards for ice-cream or bowling or something along those lines. This is the best and I would definitely smile too if promised these things. [note: if you are bringing snacks to the session as little bribes along the way, make sure they won't melt or turn somebody's mouth blue, or take forever to chew]!

And a third option (demonstrated by this family below which is pure genius) "If you don't cooperate, you are paying for the shoot" hahahaha. This is an excellent tactic for teenagers who aren't in the mood for family photos but don't want to lose 50 bucks.. Hahaha I still can't get over how amazing that is.

I like to get all the formal family shots done and out of the way at the beginning, then give lots of time to let candid moments happen and chase around family members all doing their own thaaaang. I feel like this gets the best of both worlds as you can get the great family photo but then also remember their personalities as they search for grasshoppers and balance on logs in those sneaky photos where I'm hiding behind trees and also in plain sight.

Okay now check out this cute family's photos! They are such a good looking family and their outfits are always on point. (#goals).
 

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