If you're hiring me, you want my lifestyle approach! What I assume this means is that play, laughter, tenderness, tickling, hugging, and "real" moments between you and your loved ones is what matters most to you in your pictures! Even if you have every intention of showing up to a session with this vision in mind, so many of us are used to having our pictures taken in more formal ways where posing and looking at the camera with a semi-forced smile are the norm. These habits can take over instinctively during your family session so make special note to do your best to avoid these three common but easy mistakes:
1. Keeping your arms and hands limp and by your sides. Since connection is what I hope to capture, it's imperative you use any free hands or arms to touch your family members by putting your arm around their shoulders, holding hands, using any other free hand to rest on their hands, tickle, or caress your child! As strange as the term sounds, "unused" arms and hands make pictures appear too formal and stiff. Unless you ask for a few formal shots and one person on the end needs to have their arm down, it's always best to convey some kind of movement with your spare hands!
2. Always smiling at the camera vs. your family members. Though I definitely want you to at times smile at the camera, I want you smiling and looking at your family members MORE! The best lifestyle or candid shots are those where family members are enjoying each other vs. looking at the camera. Some of my favorite pictures are ones where there is a balance between maybe one person looking at the camera and everyone else looking at that person or others.
3. Waiting for me to give you cues to play, tickle, or explore! Though I'm happy to constantly direct family members if need be, the time will fly by and I'll get an even greater set if you come to the session prepared to have as many fun moments with your kids as possible! As an example, for my own family session, I already had in mind what jokes, secrets I was going to whisper, games I wanted to play, and facial expressions I was going to make in order to keep my kids engaged and excited to connect with me!