How to prepare for your Lifestyle Family session

My idea with family photography is to give you more opportunities to disconnect, relax and enjoy the love and company of your crew while creating meaningful memories and enjoying what Chicago has to offer... And of course, get photographed as it happens!

Since beautiful spring is just around the corner (hopefully!), maybe you are already thinking about your family session, or maybe you are one of the lovely families who have a session early booked with me (Thank you and YAY!!!), but either way, there is a good chance you are wondering how to prepare your kiddos to make the best out of your experience. In case you are one on my families, I would love to remind you that am mainly a lifestyle photographer, but I do a lot of documentary during the sessions. This means that my approach  gives you the freedom to relax and let go of perfection. My goal is not to make you look perfect or to make your children show a stiff smile; my goal is to capture you and your family just the way you are today.  

So, after a little brainstorming, here are a 7 tips on how to prepare for your lifestyle family session.

1.Let the kids know about the sESSION.  

Start talking to your kids about the photoshoot a week in advance, is a very casual way to get them comfortable with the idea.  Tell them that something fun, different (if it is the first time) and exciting is going to happen. As soon as you know the location, tell them where we’ll be going and that we are going to play and have fun while your friend (me) captures everything so you can always remember that day.  My girls LOVE to see photos of themselves, so maybe your kiddos are the same? Show them past family photos and make them remember the good memories attached to those images. When kids know that this experience will result in a series of fun photos of themselves, they might get more excited. And pretty please, don't make them practice smiles or poses! The best photos are made when little ones can just relax and be themselves.

2. Make sure everyone is happily fed and rested.  

Well-rested, well-fed kiddos are a must! Make sure they get a great nap before the session and that they’ve eaten. I usually have sunset sessions in order to get the best light, so if this is your case, try to push naps a little later than usual if possible. Full tummies and well rested bodies is the recipe for happier people...  And that is a FACT!

You are more than welcome to bring snacks and things that make your child happy. If we need to take a break for apples and popcorn, no problem, we will do it… Anything to keep the youngest members of the family happy and engaged!

Also, clearing your schedule on photo day is a good way to go! Please don't go swimming and then to a dance lesson on the same day as your photo shoot. Make your photoshoot the main event that day.

Alicia Mayorca Photography | Chicago Lifestyle Family Photographer

3. Dress them comfortably and weather appropriate.

Make sure kiddos are dressed comfortable!!  Sometimes it takes kids a little bit to get used to new clothes, so if you buy a special outfit for the shoot, make sure to use it at least once.  and remember that overheated (or freezing) family members usually become very uncooperative.

Alicia Mayorca Photography | Chicago Lifestyle Family Photographer

4. Rewards are definitely ok.  

Offer a reward for doing a good job during the session. I will emphasize I didn't say bribe!! According to my experience (as a mom and photographer) I’ve seen that candy and treats aren't always the best idea, instead try planning a special outing after the session. It can be a great incentive for good behavior plus more family time.  Since our photoshoot would probably be scheduled in the late afternoon, promising the kids a trip to the movies or going out for pizza afterward can work wonders. Or whatever sounds good to you!

Alicia Mayorca Photography | Chicago Lifestyle Family Photographer

5. Don't just focus on the final product; enjoy the experience.  

As a mom, I completely understand that photoshoots can be stressful, but I want to encourage you to embrace that life ISN'T perfect and it’s better if we just go with the flow. Enjoy the session as a time to fully embrace how spontaneous, fun, and unpredictably wonderful family life can be. Let’s use this time together for connecting. I’ll be capturing the story that you are already familiar with. I will play with the light and witness your beautiful moments.

My job is to capture amazing shoots while you guys are just being you… I promise you (and as you can see in my portfolio) I’ll get the shots! And in my opinion the best photos are the candid ones that show you being a family. You’ll get the best (and most honest and real) photos that way.

Alicia Mayorca Photography | Chicago Lifestyle Family Photographer

6. Remember your kiddos are just kids. 

They will set the pace and flow of our session and if they want to play, explore or stay in your arms we will work around that. Whatever works best for your kids! Quick note: I am a big fan of silly, honest, or pensive portraits of children that shows their personality.

Alicia Mayorca Photography | Chicago Lifestyle Family Photographer

7. Get everything ready the day before. 

This will ensure that session day will go smoothly. Pack the snacks and a change of clothes if you will be bringing one, lay out the outfits and get excited!  But, WHAT TO PACK?

  • Backup clothes. It’s a good idea to have backup clothing just in case!

  • Favorite toy. Your child’s lovie is always a welcome! You might also consider bringing a favorite book to read as a family.

  • Snacks + Water. If the kids need a quick mood boost during the session, a little snack break always does the trick!

Alicia Mayorca Photography | Chicago Lifestyle Family Photographer

Hope this helps you to prepare for your family photoshoots. Do you have more tips or questions??? Please share them in the comments.

Can't wait for all the sessions I have coming up in the next few months! Photo season is officially on and I hope you are as excited as I am!