Amidst the every day busyness of life it is important to pause and take family photos of everyone together as they are. A special portrait that includes you, who is normally behind your phone documenting your family moments – maybe for this portrait you will get a blow-dry and the kids will be wearing those outfits that only come out for special occasions. No pressure! Except for it is….a lot of pressure.
Pressure to create a portrait of your family – big smiles, perfectly coordinated outfits that aren’t wrinkled, the kids being angels and us parents looking 5 years younger and effortlessly photogenic. Is this what we will want looking back through our family albums in 20 years? Family photos are meant to preserve a moment in your life and make you feel something. When you look back through your most favourite photos rarely will the truly special ones be perfect because we aren’t perfect. They will however, bring a smile to your face and take you back to how you felt on that day.
What being a parent has taught me despite my attempts to fight it at times is that my family is far from perfect but it is love-filled and perfectly imperfect and I wouldn’t change the chaos for the world (well maybe I would change some of the messy house!) This is what makes every family session so unique. And this, is what we will miss when our kids are grown.
Often I am asked how to prepare for family portraits and so, dear parents, here it goes:
Let your kids pick clothes that reflect their personalities – let them help you with their outfits.
Not only will they feel proud that they can choose what makes them feel confident and this will shine through. If your youngest spends the majority of her days twirling and dreaming of being a fairy ballerina then wouldn’t it be lovely to have a beautiful portrait of her with her fairy wings? I encourage parents to bring along these special outfits, especially for individual portraits of the kids – you should see the sparkle it brings to their eyes…even to the most skeptical little models!
Choose a place that is special to your family.
Choosing a location that is familiar and means something to your family will put your kids (and you) at ease. If you are visiting Marbella on holidays and spend your days on the beach, why not pick your favourite beach for your photos? Not only will these images feel more natural but your kids will be more confident because it is a place they know well and they will more likely not protest having their portraits taken and want to show me around.
Choose an activity to do together that will make you laugh & smile.
After taking formal family portraits, I encourage families to bring along an activity that they would normally do together. Perhaps this is kicking a football or flying a kite or blowing bubbles – whatever the activity may be it will help you to stop trying to get everyone to listen and instead just be focused on having fun. Sometimes we can feel frazzled especially with younger kids and trying to get to your session on time and all looking presentable and in the right mood. Running in the sand, playing with your kids, LAUGHING and being present does magic for your portraits and you might actually leave having had fun! These will also be some of the most special family portraits we will create together.
In a world full of social media perfection, let us consciously stop being so hard on ourselves and stop trying to create perfection and trust that I will see your family and capture those special moments of love.
Wishing you all a wonderful week, Andrea xx