Does this sound familiar? You’ve just booked your photo session and you’re so excited to get some updated family pics, but when you go tell your husband you only hear hesitation, followed by, “Didn’t we just get photos done?”
Let’s just say you’re not alone. In my 15-year span working as a newborn and family photographer, I can tell you from experience that this is pretty common. Why are we excited and they aren’t? Don’t they want new photos with their kids? Well, yes they do, but most of the time they don’t want to spend time doing what they think can be fake, corny, and stressful; let alone taking time away from what they’d rather be doing with their families.
So speaking as both a Mom who wants to get her own family photos and also as a newborn and family photographer, let me share with you how I work with dads and partners (including my own) on board.
1. I address expectations. There is always a bit of chaos during a family session because kids have different temperaments, personalities, and ages and photos aren’t a normal occurrence. If they act out or cry or misbehave, we will work around it. Do you know how many photos I have where mom or dad is in a photo with a crying child but you can’t tell from the photo?
2. I tell Dads they will get lots of breaks. They won’t have to be in front of the frame all the time. They are free to check their emails, have a snack, or take a break to do whatever they’d like.
3. It is the photographer’s job to manage the kids. I have a bunch of tips and tricks I use to ensure we get wonderful photos. Besides warming up to your kids right away, I aim to loosen up Dad as well. I establish the laid-back and chill vibe of my sessions right away, so they know this experience will be different.
4. Many times, their dread of the session is based on a previously bad photo experience. If you have worked with an inexperienced photographer who cannot direct families, doesn’t have a tried-and-true plan for working with families and kids to break the ice, have fun, and calm them down, then both parents will feel stressed out. And it’ll show in the photos. The hours of time and amount of money experienced photographers have put into developing their style of photography shows in how consistent their portfolio is. If you constantly see Dads and partners who look relaxed and are having fun in the images, then you know that the photographer has great experience in working with families. Sometimes you get what you pay for.