Below is a blog I ghostwrote for a Keyhole Marketing client of mine. And above is a fun photo from a family photography session I captured at 100 Acres at the IMA. Hope you find it helpful!

As a parent or grandparent, you know that time flies by way faster than you’d like. One day you’re at the hospital welcoming your children into the world, and the next you’re crying at their graduation. You blinked, and they’re all grown up by the time you open your eyes.

So how do you slow down time…or at least give yourself a glimpse back at what you missed?

One ways is to regularly schedule family photo sessions with your local portrait photographer. Granted, you’re probably capturing thousands of photos and videos of your kids already via your smart phones. But wouldn’t it be nice if everyone were in the pictures? And wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to assume the uncomfortable and unnatural “selfie” pose in order to squeeze into the frame?

Yes. Yes, it would.

But before you book your next family photo session, follow these 8 tips to make it the best it can be:

1. Find the Right Fit.

Every photographer has a unique photographic style. While shopping around, be sure to visit his/her website and sift through the portfolios. Even if the photographer came as a referral, you want to make sure the end result will be what you want. Also, make sure you know what your package includes. Will you get prints? Digital files? Will they be high-resolution or low? These are questions you’ll want answers to before booking.

2. Book the Best Time.

If possible, schedule your session at a time when your kids will be most agreeable during the shoot. While your photographer may prefer morning or night because of lighting, you need to book a time that works best for you and your family. Good lighting doesn’t matter if everyone’s crying.

3. Don’t Stifle.

It’s all right to sift through Pinterest, find photography ideas, and offer them to your photographer, but be sure they’re only suggestions. You want to give your photographer the flexibility to be creative during the session. Otherwise, the results may not be what you envisioned when first selecting the photographer.

4. Pack Wipes.

Especially during the fall and winter months, kids’ (and adults’) noses will be running. Make it easier on your photographer by keeping everyone’s faces as clean as possible.

5. Take Rewards.

It’s very natural to get stage fright when the camera goes up. To help your kids feel more comfortable, be sure to pack their favorite toys or some treats to attract their attention and reward them for sharing their smiles.

6. Dress Appropriately.

Pick the right outfits for the location that you and your photographer select. You don’t want your family’s matching white pants to be trashed after the first shot.

7. Be Honest.

Before the session ends, be sure to mention if you had any other images, poses, or groupings in mind. That’s the best time to mention it. Your photographer will let you know if there’s enough time or if your package permits more images to be captured.

8. Have Patience.

Chances are that your photographer has other sessions that need to be edited before yours. Unless you two agree on a specific deadline, give your photographer time to work his/her magic. A good rule of thumb is to check in no sooner than two weeks after the session.

Follow those tips and you’ll make your family and your photographer very happy!

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