Evergreen, Colorado | Family Photos | The Johnsons

May 20, 2015
mom and dad smiling with baby mountain setting Arizona

The idea of family photos can be stressful.  I get it.  During our first family photo shoot, our very excitable pooch nearly pulled me off a ledge and eventually took a swim in a nearby pond.  Ha.  And our most recent photos (that did not include the dog, for reasons already mentioned) went a little something like this – 5 minutes of posing and trying to get Chuck to do something other than pull my hair or pick Jesse’s nose, then 15 minutes of him chasing geese around a poop covered park, repeat.  So.  Yeah.  I get it.  It can be a little nerve-wracking to sign up for photos when you know that there’s no chance your kids/dog/spouse will “behave”.

Yes… Booking a family photo session is like signing up for an hour of controlled chaos while someone you only sort of know stands by and clicks away on their camera.   There are a lot of  variables.  And your kids will remind you, over and over again, that you are not in charge and the more you BEG them to do something, the less likely they are to do it.  🙂

But after several years of being a family photographer, and walking in to all kinds of situations, I do think there are a few things you can do that will guarantee a successful session and some gorgeous photos as the end result.

1. Don’t stress.  Laugh.  Be light-hearted.  Avoid apologizing to me about anyone’s behavior or inability to sit still.  I don’t care at all, and I prefer to embrace the craziness that is having kids.  I mean, seriously.  Wouldn’t you LOVE to have a photo of your kid throwing a fit, all snot covered and red faced, while everyone else laughs to share at their high school graduation or on their wedding day?  Priceless, I tell you!

2. Bring snacks.  And toys.  And other items for distraction.  Some of my favorite photos of my son from our latest session are of him sitting and reading his most treasured book about trucks.  And in the family session featured here, we took breaks to eat snacks, we took breaks to walk around and explore, and in some of the images of this little man, I edited out his favorite musical toy that was being held by mom just a few feet away.  🙂

3. Focus on your family.  Yes, it’s great to get  a few photos of you looking at the camera and smiling, but the most cherished photos are those where you are laughing with your loved ones or snuggled up with your baby.  Don’t spend the whole time trying to get your 6 month old to look at me and smile – that’s my job.  Just focus on connecting with the ones you love, and I will be sure to create photographs that you will treasure.

4. Get comfortable with PDA.  While you might not go to a park and sit wrapped in your spouse’s arms on a regular basis… you might have done that when you were first dating… and you definitely do it in the comfort of your own home.  The best photos are ones where there is an obvious connection, and much of that is created through touch.  Have a hand on one another, sit close, kiss a cheek, rest your head on a shoulder.  Be loving and do your best to forget that I’m there.

5. Trust your photographer.  I love when clients trust my advice about what to wear, where to shoot, and what time we can get the best light.  In this particular session, it meant keeping their little guy up past his bedtime.  Mom and Dad trusted me throughout the whole process, and even though there were some moments of fussing and tears, we got some absolutely gorgeous photos.  Even better, they commented at the end that they were super comfortable and actually had fun.  🙂

Check out another one of my favorite family sessions here!

Interested in doing your family photo shoot in Evergreen?  Learn more about their parks and open spaces here!


Love every single one of these shots. That little one has the best smile ever!

Ahhh, your post made me laugh. Its so true…what goes on behind the scenes of a family shoot…haha. Great advise. And your family photos…AMAZING. Loved the styling, and the natural happiness that they exude! Great post!

Awww! I love these pointers! I did one like this as well, I think it’s all too important that families feel comfortable and confident as soon as they arrive at their location if not before hand! 🙂 The Johnson’s are a beautiful family and you did a wonderful job capturing their joy!

These tips are spot on! Much easier said than done, but your clients obviously trust you and your beautiful work!

Great tips–I love the story you tell in the first paragraph. Its so genuine it makes me trust you!